Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Voodoo I Do

I am fascinated by altars and fetishes. The spiritual powers attributed to them intrigue me. Recently, I watched a TV documentary about young America soldiers. Each carried a good luck charm. I began to notice that a lot of urban people carry around (or wear) items of intense personal, religious or superstitious significance.
At my voodoo-inspired exhibition, Venus In Hell, I created my first altar (pictured left). I assembled it with offerings of food, alcohol and tobacco, and a wide, but carefully selected combination of objects, each rich with symbolism. The effect it had on people was palpable. Most spent a long time lingering in front of it; many unconsciously gathered around or near it.
My boyfriend has given me many small, precious gifts. Some have travelled the world with him over many years. A few months ago, I created a tiny altar in my home. I keep them there, in view, along with a few other small, sentimental pieces I have collected or been given over the years, including a tiny buddha, carved from a single garnet, a fragile bird scull I found on a beach, a small, rare Radiant Baby badge by Keith Haring, a sinister-looking hat pin of a black crow, sewn all over with beads and feather shaped sequins and a glass eye, and a figure of Our Lady Of Lourdes in a clear tube of holy water from Lourdes itself. There are about a couple of dozen other small pieces, each full of meaning and history.
I walk by the altar several times a day. I find it comforting, reassuring, even peaceful. As someone with few personal possessions, and even fewer religious or or superstitious beliefs, its effect on me is a little perplexing. I want to explore it further in my work.

1 comment:

onebodymind said...

This altar is beautiful...I have a friend whose Ph.D. thesis at Harvard was all about the altars of the African diaspora in Haiti, Cuba and Bahia, Brazil...
is there anything like this in aboriginal culture??
I set them up, but then I forget to keep them fresh and alive...I think that is the key...that and some rum!
All the zest! Deborah