NEW YORK PRAYS: haitian vodou
This series portrays a group of Haitians during Vodou rituals in Brooklyn, New York.
People have many prejudices about Vodou that, in most cases, is associated with black magic and superstition, but I found a community deeply tied to its country, ancestors and believes. Each celebration is a time for unity and fraternity among Haitians trying to make contact not only with the spirits, but also between them, here and now.
Vodou rituals and pantheon reflect a lot of the Roman Catholic tradition as well as African religious heritage. Haitian Vodouists revere a supreme God – Bondye - and a world of powerful spirits, Iwa, who link the human with the divine. There are hundreds of lwa in the Vodou religion, and each has its own personality, strengths, weaknesses, and favorite objects.
Ceremonies move to the rhythm of the drum; induced by sound and glitter, the lwa may possess their servitors or, as Haitians say, ride the horses.
This series was shot in 2011 and 2012.