Gaël Turine: Voodoo

Voodoo originated in slavery and was declared the official religion of Haiti in 2003. The belief came into existence in the sixteenth century and is based upon a merging of the beliefs and practices belonging to the vodun cult from of West African Benin with the beliefs and practices associated with Roman Catholic Christianity. Voodoo was created by African slaves who were brought to Haiti in the 16th century and still followed their traditional African beliefs but were forced to convert to the religion of their slavers. From Haiti voodoo gradually spread to the United States and the Caribbean. Voodoo practitioners, who are commonly described as vodouisants, aim their prayers to a rather large number of spirits known as Loa, or Mistè. These spirits all have their own, distinct preferences and are honoured with specific rituals, symbols, dances and music. The Loa enable the vodouisants to contact the world of the dead, amongst whom deceased relatives and ancestors. This contact is highly important because respect for, and listening to what it is that these spirits and ancestors are conveying is absolutely quintessential if one wants to attain a better and more peaceful life on earth. Between 2005 and 2010 Turine took photographs of several ceremonies, pilgrimages and rituals connected with voodoo religion. These photographs are on display at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam - in the Netherlands - until March 13th 2011. More info here.