Spirited Things: Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic

A UVM blog

November 14, 2017
by Vicki Brennan
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Video Vodou TONIGHT!

The third “Video Vodou” film screening takes place TONIGHT (11/14) at 6:30 in the Champlain College Alumni Auditorium.

The film this week will be Judith Gleason and Elisa Mereghetti’s The King does not Lie: the Initiation of a Shango Priest

The film focuses on the elaborate rituals of initiation which confer priesthood in the religion called la Regla Lucumi  – more widely known as “Santeria” –  a New World recension of traditional Yoruba religion practiced in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and in urban centers throughout the United States and Europe.   The film offers an unprecedented and intimate view of initiation in these traditions.  The viewer follows the initiate into the very heart of the igbodu – the initiation chamber – where human and divine worlds intersect.

As we follow the initiate through a series of ritual events, a new perspective on ancient rites is revealed. The religion originated in Africa and the chants are sung in Yoruba. Rituals like these are the basis of ceremonies performed in churches and temples of established religions. Sacred stones washed in sacred, leafy waters become the energy for ritual purification and empowerment.

The anointment of head, feet and stones with the blood of sacrifice ensures atonement. On the third day the community gathers to witness the divination session in which the initiate receives his new name, “Oba Ko Puro,” translated from Yoruba as “The King Does Not Lie.” With the name, comes the story of the initiate’s transfer of allegiance from an outer/worldly to inner/spiritual authority. Combining ritual narration with poetic translation from Lucumi/Yoruba chants provides the viewer with an understanding of the literal and figurative dimensions of the ceremony. A film of special interest to students of comparative religion, ritual, and Afro-Caribbean culture.
Please join us for the viewing and a lively discussion to follow!

November 7, 2017
by Vicki Brennan
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Video Vodou: Film Screening TODAY at Champlain College

Please join us for the second film in the Video Vodou film series. The event will begin at 6:30 pm and will take place in the Champlain College Alumni Auditorium (CCM Bulding rm 305 (Alumni Auditorium), Champlain College).

We’ll be screening Anne Lescot’s Of Men and Gods  – a film which explores the intersection of Gay identity, LGBTQ rights, and Vodou in contemporary Haitian culture:
A frank look at a largely unexplored area, Of Men And Gods examines the daily existence of several Haitian men who are openly gay. Prevalent, yet still taboo, homosexuality and gay culture are allowed to flourish within the context of Haiti’s Vodou religion. As “children of the gods,” the men find an explanation for homosexuality as well as divine protection. They also find an outlet for theatrical expression through exhilarating performances in which they embody the gods. Meanwhile, the AIDS epidemic looms as a continual threat and adds a disquieting degree of nihilism to their relatively optimistic attitudes toward life and happiness in Port-au-Prince. The filmmaker, Anne Lescot, is an anthropologist who has studied Haitian Vodou for 10 years. Laurence Magloire has been working in the field of television for 10 years.

We hope to see you there!

October 16, 2017
by Vicki Brennan
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Film Series begins this week!

This week we also kick off the Video Vodou Film series! Join us for a screening of the film A Pig’s Tale with a lively discussion to follow!

October 17, 6:30-9:30 PM @ CCM Bulding rm 305 (Alumni Auditorium), Champlain College

A Pig’s Tale

A piggyback ride of a documentary linking Haitian pigs, Vodou and US economic imperialism.
Directed and produced Leah Gordon & Anne Parisio 1997
A Parisio Production for Channel 4 TV in association with Arte/ Crowing Rooster Arts Inc./ Dominant 7

October 15, 2017
by Vicki Brennan
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This week: Dr. Elizabeth McAlister speaks on “Power Objects”

The next “Spirited Things” event will take place this Thursday, October 19 at 5:00PM

Featuring Dr. Elizabeth McAlister, Chair of African American Studies and Professor of Religion, Wesleyan University, speaking on:

“Power Objects: Charging and Discharging in Afro-Caribbean Religion”

How do material objects work as powerful catalysts for transformation, healing, or defense in the Afro-Atlantic religious world? This talk examines decorated bottles from Haiti as containers for spiritual energy, and unpacks the logics by which a seemingly inanimate object can be charged with powerful energy, and de-charged when its work is complete.

October 1, 2017
by Vicki Brennan
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Related Events in the UVM Lane Series

The UVM Lane Series includes two concerts this season with performers and genres whose music is connected to the cultures represented in the Spirited Things exhibition. So exciting!

From the Dominican Republic: El Duque de la Bachata – Joan Soriano and his band

Joan Soriano & His Band

Date and Time: Saturday, October 7, 7:30 pm
Venue: UVM Recital Hall
Address: 384 South Prospect Street, Burlington, VT 05405
Tickets: $30 Adult | $5 Student

Pre-show Talk with Artists in the Hall, 6:30pm

 

And, later in October:

Cyro Batista

World Music and Brazilian Tropicalia master: Cyro Batista “Banquet of the Spirits”

Date and Time: Friday, October 20, 7:30 pm | UVM Recital Hall
$35 Adult | $10 Student

More information at www.uvm.edu/laneseries

September 26, 2017
by Vicki Brennan
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“Spirited” Opening at Fleming

“Spirited Things” is the main story on the UVM homepage! Read the excellent story about the collaboration between Marsh Professor J. Lorand Matory, the staff of the Fleming Museum, and Religion professor Vicki Brennan.

Objects from Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic Collection (SABA), Duke University.

 

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