African symbols meet European pomp in "Shimmering Spirits: the Art of Haitian Voodoo Flags," on display at Peninsula School of Art’s Guenzel Gallery, 3900 County Road F, in Fish Creek. The exhibit runs through November 8, with a Family Day and party scheduled for Saturday, October 18 from 10 am – 2 pm.
Sequined and symbolic, the brilliantly-colored ritual flags are on loan from the collection of Allen and Amy Musikantow of Sister Bay.
The flags, or drapo, are used in parades around a Voodoo temple prior to a religious ceremony to initiate the gathering of holy spirits and followers. Each flag is dedicated to a single god (called Iwa) and heavily decorated in sequins and/or appliqué with the god’s corresponding colors and symbols.
Although many Americans believe that Voodoo’s devotees (or in Haiti, servitors) practice a type of black magic, the religion actually is based in more universal religious principles. The Voodoo gods are called upon to provide the believer with spiritual strength and to serve as guides in aiding those less fortunate. In fact, Voodoo (or Voudoo) is a combination of African, Catholic, and Masonic traditions. These naturally merged when African and European cultures collided due to the enslavement of African people in the Carribean during the colonial period.
Voodoo flags are considered the most sacred and essential ritual implements in a Voodoo temple. They have also become the most celebrated genre of Voodoo sacred art.
For more information about these events and other Peninsula School of Art workshops, exhibitions, and community programs, call 920.868.3455 or email [email protected].