Vodou flags will be on display in the main building

by Michael O. Garvey

An exhibition of nine Vodou flags made by two Haitian artists will be on display in the rotunda of the University of Notre Dame’s Main Building through March 14. The exhibition, sponsored by Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art and mounted by Douglas Bradley, the Snite’s curator of ethnographic arts, celebrates Black History Month.p. The flags were made in the 1960s and 70s by the Haitian artists Antoine and Clotaire Bazille for use in Vodou ceremonies and processions.p. Vodou (the word derives from “vodun,” which means god or spirit in the language of the West African Fon people) is a religious sect which combines elements of Roman Catholic ritual dating from the 18th century period of Haiti’s French colonization, and African animist religions, which were brought to Haiti by West African slaves. While adherents of Vodou profess belief in a supreme God, they also revere a large number of spirits called the loa, mostly African gods, deified ancestors, and Catholic saints who act as helpers, protectors, and guides. They believe that individuals or families can endear themselves to the loa by ritual services.p. Each of the vibrantly colored flags on display is embroidered with sequin and glass beads on satin or cotton. Each carries the vévé, or symbol, of the loa whom it is designed to revere.p. Other artworks from the African and African-American traditions may be seen in the Snite Museum’s Arts of the Americas, Africa, and Oceania Gallery. The museum is open Tuesday through Wednesday from 10 a.m-4 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. More information on the Vodou flag exhibition may be obtained by calling Bradley at 631-4712.

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