The Vodoun Spirit
Oil on wood, 48 inches by 24 inches, 2014
While on a visit to Haiti in the late 1980’s, I happened to be in a market selling locally carved wooden images of Vodoun deities and animals. As is typical, all were painted in brilliant colors, except for one which really stood out.
I purchased the unpainted carving which became the model for this painting.
There is more to this story because a friend who was with me purchased two of the painted statues. At the end of our trip, my friend returned to England and I came home to Minneapolis.
About a year later I was in England and went to visit my friend who I had not heard from since the Haitian visit.
As soon as he opened the door of his house I could see that there was serious renovation work in progress. I asked him about this and this is the story He told.
He returned from Haiti and displayed the two statues he had bought at the market on a piano in his family room. Several months later when working from home at night he began hearing noises that he could not account for. I should add my friend is very Catholic and very superstitious so, these noises very soon began upsetting his nerves. After several weeks of experiencing this phenomena that had no logical cause his superstitious mind began to focus on the possibility that he may have brought back spirits from Haiti in the two statues.
Soon after this line of thought came to him his wife asked if he had noticed the small holes that had appeared on the top and sides of the piano. Immediately he realized the cause of the noise, it was his house being eaten by some form of termite that had been incubating within the statues.
My visit coincided with all the wood in his house, doors, floors, joists etc. having to be replaced.
I should add, my beautiful and powerful unpainted statue has never caused a problem.