Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Looking through these images is probably the most excited my eyes have ever ever been.  I remember a friend who had been to Benin in West Africa, telling me about how crazy and utterly mind-blowing the voodoo culture there is and I didn't really believe her to the extent she meant for me to because I obviously had no way to imagine this is what she was talking about.  A friend sent me this link from believe it or not, The  Their photographer Dan Kirkwood attended the annual Benin (which I hear is the home of voodoo) Voodoo Festival.  

It features priest and voodoo practitioners (for lack of a better term) from Benin and other West African countries like Nigeria and Burkina Faso.  And these are the kinds of clothes (again, I find that I am limited in finding the appropriate description for these err, African cassocks?) they adorn at the festival.  I don't even really know what Voodoo is. All I remember is watching Weekend at Bernies as a kid and praying that nobody would ever make a voodoo doll of me, against me.  I'm sure it's not that bad but looking through these pictures sure does make our Sangoma's look like they are High School Musical and these guys are The Craft or Scream. I am going to read up about this festival and the country of Benin.  

I can't believe their garb is even real.  I wonder what the embellishments are made from, how they are made and what the spiritual significance of the fact that you can't see any of their faces is.  It's both scary and awe inspiring to look at.  This led me to discover the work of photographer Phyllis Galembo, who has spent the last 20 years photographing such festivals and other spiritual and religious practices from countries like Brazil, Cuba and Jamaica among other African countries.  Her work is so interesting, it doesn't deserve a one liner at the bottom of an article about something else, but here are some examples of her work. I wonder if this can be classified as fashion. 

I don't know where these beings are from.  I don't know if I would be brave enough to see them face to face but I am in serious awe. These images are from a website called Svrta.  


Anonymous said...

This is incredible and the images are beautiful!

slomokazi said...

in a Nigerian book I read some time ago, it spoke about how when you are chosen to 'represent' a spirit - you must hide your face so that those that know you cannot attach your personality and preferences from those of the spirit you represent.

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