MAY 7 - JUNE 13, 2015
Cavin-Morris Gallery is honored to present an exhibition of magic and spirit expressed in intense and powerful works of art from Western Africa. This work is all about process and intention. It is an animistic magic that relies on Nature for its material and spiritual sources - for healing, for love, for midwifery, for remembrance, for power, for cultural resistance, and ultimately for finding a balance in human nature. We have two kinds of objects in this exhibition with the focus on the ancestral poles that mark the safe boundaries of a village or serve to call down protective energies when placed outside a home. The Vodun sculptures are more personal and have to do with the immediate control of Nature and one's personal well-being. Always covert, Vodun is more in the open now. These pieces do not represent the court art we associate with the royalty of Benin, it is the vernacular art of common people struggling to survive in a contemporary world.
Part of the exhibition includes a large selection of magic and spirit objects from the Jean-Jacques Mandel Collection from France. This work is primarily from Benin and Togo. Often covered with a thick sacrificial patina, charged with metal, and the binding powers of ropes, these pieces from the early to mid-Twentieth Century demonstrate that Vodun is still alive, highly functioning, and changing in the contemporary Pan-African world. It is an art in movement....never finished.
This art has developed in tandem with the vernacular arts of the New World. There has been a constant conversation between religions in the African diaspora from the very outset....from the Americas to Asia.