Voodoo Flag: An exhibition and embroidery project with Haitian artist, Madam Moreaux
On January 26, 2019 a new group exhibition was opened at the African Studies Gallery, curated by Idit Toledano and featuring Kuchinate – the African asylum seekers collective. The exhibition will present Voodoo flags from Haiti, created by leading Voodoo artists, as well as works created by the Kuchinate women especially for the exhibition, guided by Voodoo flag artist Anne-Marie Moreau.
The African Studies Gallery invited Pierre-Moreau for two weeks, during which she will create artworks with the women’s collective applying techniques used to create Voodoo flags. The workshop at the Kuchinate studio in 104 Sderot Har Zion St. in Tel Aviv, which will be open to visitors seeking to learn about the work process, will host artist Zoya Cherkassky and Gil Yefman, who will illustrate the flags together with the Kuchinate women.
Voodoo Flags will focus on a key feature of the art that accompanies the Voodoo rituals: flags used to summon spirits. The exhibition will present 25 flags by leading Voodoo artists from Haiti, made in mixed techniques such as embroidery, bead weaving and sequins.
The Voodoo religion developed over several centuries, and today it is the religion and culture of most Haitians. It is a system of beliefs that connects the visible and the invisible worlds. The scenes depicted on the flags are taken from the Voodoo pantheon: a syncretism of deities from the various religions of the slaves brought from Africa to Haiti starting in the 16th century, deities form the religions of indigenous Haitians, and the Catholic saints the European colonizers brought with them.
In recent decades, there has been growing Western interest in Voodoo and the artworks that accompany its rituals, which is also evidenced by the growing number of Voodoo flags presented in museums and galleries worldwide. The Voodoo flags presented in the exhibition have been borrowed from the private collection of Dr. Jacques Bartoli who lives in Haiti and with the help of Sharona Natan, owner of El-Saieh Gallery in the capital Port-au-Prince.
On January 25, 2019 the African Studies Gallery held a gallery talk together with Ann-Marie Pierre-Moreau and Sharona Natan, moderated by Dr. Didi Maimon-Kahan, the initiator of Kuchinate. After the talk, an open embroidery workshop with Pierre-Moreau will be held.
The African Studies Gallery is a unique exhibition space located in the heart of Tel Aviv. It strives to stimulate critical thinking and to challenge viewers’ conventional understanding of Africa as a cultural entity. Through exhibitions and cultural events, we seek to mediate African art to the general public, seeking to make the continent's rich and diverse heritages accessible and thereby also challenge the way we look at art from different cultures, in the hope that the gallery and its activity will bridge together people and cultures.