Thursday, November 10, 2011

WCA visit and Sexuality!

We were required to go see the Haitian art collection at the Waterloo Center for the Arts this week. It was very interesting and really exciting to see art work that we have been learning about in class these past few weeks. It's always better to actually see the art work that we learn about then just seeing them in slides, because slides just doesn't do the art work justices. We also had a discussion in class about the articles we read by Rotimie Fani-Kayode called "Traces of Ecstacy," and by Kobena Mercer called, "Eros & Diaspora." Both articles were very intriguing and brought up good points, it also raised a few question for me as well that I would like to discuss further, but first I would like to discuss and reflect on my visit to the Waterloo Center for the Arts.

When I went to the Waterloo Center for the Arts to see their Haitian art collection, I found a lot of what we talked about in class show up in many of their art works. I noticed right away after look for a few minutes at the different art pieces that Mami Wata showed up in many of the pieces. As we discussed before Mami Wata is a prominent figure in their society because she is the spirit that can bring good fortune. I found for 4 art pieces that had her in them, which is a significant amount considering the are of Haitian art was rather small. I also notice chickens were a common theme through out the collection. I feel like this was the case because they use chickens in their vodou ceremonies, they are one of the animals they sacrifice, as we have seen this in the video we got shown in class a few weeks prior to this visit. This leads me to the picture that was entitled "Ceremony" by Wilmino Domond. It is a painting depicting how a vodou ceremony looks as it is being done. They had drummers in the picture, along with a guy that had been possessed by a spirit, and it also showed the sacrificing of a cow and a chicken.  All of these things are important in the ceremonies of the Haitian People. It definitely showed part of the Haitian culture.

Another art piece that I found quit intriguing was the Drapo of a veve design. It was called Carrefour by Myrland Constant. It was interesting to me because I think the veve designs are fascinating, probably because the have meaning behind them and I can't necessarily read what they mean or stand for. It's kind of like my interest in Chinese and Japanese symbols. I like them because I can't easily read them, so I have to look them up to know what they mean, which is always fun because I love learning new things. It's the whole idea of mystery behind the symbol that I like. Anyway I found Carrefour to be fun because of the fun colors and the veve symbol caught my eye. As I was looking at it I noticed the sequence patterns had a follow to them which made it different from the other Drapos I looked at. It had a movement with in the drapo that I liked. But I couldn't help but wonder why the artist picked the colors that he or she did? Was there meaning behind these colors or were they just picked at random? It was just a question that came to my mind as I was looking at this piece that I found so interesting.

Another question I could not answer, that I asked myself came from the reading that we did in class. The article by Rotimi Fani-Kayode entitled Traces of Ecstasy. The article was about his work that dealt with homosexuality and how it is controversial to the world that can't exactly except it. Towards the end of his article he states, " However, sometimes I think if I took my work into the rural areas, where my life is still vigorously in touch with itself and its roots, the reception might be more constructive. Perhaps the world recongnise my smallpox Gods, my transsexual priests, my images of desirable Blake men in a state of sexual frenzy, or the tranquility of communion with the spirit world." This quote stuck out to me because it raised some questions that I had about his reasoning here. I wondered why does he thought his work would be more excepting in rural areas instead of bigger cities? I feel like it would be less excepting in rural areas because I feel the people in rural areas are more conservative then city dwellers. Reason I think this is because bigger cities have more people that are more diverse in ethnicity, sexuality and thought then people of a smaller population. Smaller populations don't have that much diversity. So, as I read this statement by Rotimi that was the first question I came up with. But the real question is would smaller towns and villages except it more? I guess we won't know until it has been done.


  1. Yes it was very interesting to see the various colors used in the drapos like you mentioned above. I had the same question as well if color had any sort of significance to the piece. When looking at Veve designs on the internet, alot of times they are just black and white sort of line drawings. So who knows? Maybe the color isn't as important as the actual design.

  2. Interesting that you (as an outsider to vodou/Eastern language) remark the language and religious signs are "fun". In line with examining that particular reaction, you might also examine that it is your own experience that dictates how you perceive cities. I presume one reason Rotimi Fani-Kayode thinks that rural areas would be more open is because cities have been more deeply influenced by Christianity, Islam, and other very rigid ways of seeing the world--in rural areas, sometimes spirituality is more fluid those who are marginalized may be because they are special. Also, in smaller areas, an individual is a person, rather than the anonymity of cities, where one can make assumptions on groups. It is a truism that generally when a person gets to know someone different than him/her, difference quickly breaks down.