Exhibition of the week: Kafou: Haiti, Art and Vodou, Nottingham Contemporary
Zoe Pilger is an art critic for The Independent and winner of the 2011 Frieze International Writers Prize. Her first novel, Eat My Heart Out, will be published by Serpent's Tail in February 2014. She is also researching a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London, on the subject of romantic love and sadomasochism in the work of contemporary female artists. She has appeared on BBC's The Review Show and Sky News
Saturday 17 November 2012
This exhibition is exceptional for many reasons. To collect so many wonderful works in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake is a feat. Moreover, the artists do not belong to the Haitian elite, trained in European art schools, but to the country's urban and rural poor.
Often mislabelled "naïve" or "primitive" art, these paintings, sculptures, and sequinned flags are rooted in the vodou tradition, which is revealed to be a source of imagination and defiance, the will to be free manifest in magic. Vodou Lwa (spirits) are re-invented according to fashion; they appear as flaneurs, pirates, Disney-esque mermaids.
Pierrot Barra transforms a cabbage-patch doll into a spirit adorned with beads, stones, and coins; Jacques-Enguerrand Gourgue's Zombis shows a funeral procession of men with hollow eyes, the imagery of binding evoking centuries of slavery.
Spanning 70 years, these works are passionately in tune with Haiti's revolutionary past.
(0115 948 9750; nottinghamcontemporary.org) to 6 Jan
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