curated by Enrico Stefanelli
in cooperation with NOOR and Polka Galerie

“Voodoo is an African-American religion characterised by syncretic and highly esoteric features. The word comes from the African voodoo, which literally means “spirit”, “divinity”, or more literally “a sign of the deep.” The name is less used in various other forms of transliteration and pronunciation, including Voodoo, according to the Anglo-Saxon spelling. It is generally considered one of the most ancient religions in the world, if you ever want to consider the modern form, born between 1600 and 1700 almost simultaneously in Latin America and West Africa, as a direct continuation of the original form. Current Voodoo religion combines in fact ancestral elements extrapolated from traditional African animism that was practiced in Benin before colonialism, with concepts drawn from Catholicism. Today Voodoo is practiced by about sixty million people worldwide, and has recently been recognized as an official religion in Benin, where is flourishingly organized in a church the members of which are the 80% of the population, and in Haiti where it is practiced by much of the population, together with the Catholic religion. Unlike popular opinion, the Voodoo is not a phenomenon linked to black magic, but a religion in all respects, and has a deep body of moral and social doctrines, as well as a complex theology. There is no doubt that Catholicism has strongly objected to some aspects of Voodoo, who had strong connections with traditional Satanism: animal sacrifices, the ritual importance of the blood of animals and that Christians consider evil (especially snakes), possessions and black magic. Thus a double relationship: on one hand the condemnation of the most incomprehensible and presumably wicked aspects, on the other a spontaneous integration of the elements considered similar.” (from Wikipedia)

Stanley Greene, during his stay in Haiti, could not thus forget this fundamental aspect of the lives of the people in Haiti. A vision of religious and spiritual practices of the Haitian population which is not examined in depth, but is undoubtedly significant and makes us understand the many facets of this religion and how people practice it everyday in that strip of land. Photos with a strong, sometimes even emotional impact which demonstrate the famous reporter’s ability to tell stories.