I had the honour to host the Voodoo To Go festival 15-17 sept in Utrecht. This festival was a beautiful braid of deep-rooted spirituality & contemporary beats. You probably think ‘Voodoo festival’? That’s the thing seen in Hollywood, with the dolls and pins right? Yes when people talk about voodoo,immediately negative stereotypes like this come across. Off course this is not true. A year ago a group of friends traveled to Togo and Benin to reconnect our roots. Check my other post for a recap about our trip. We Voodoo is a native West African religion, which has spread to South America and the Caribbean. The Africans took their faith to the other continents when their were enslaved. Over the centuries, the Africans have developed a worldview in which faith in a creator, assisted by gods and goddesses, ancestors and spirits is fundamental. During this festival artists like Akua Naru, Val Jeanty, Vadou Game performed on stage and gave us an insight in their perception of voodoo.
At the launch of the album ‘The Miner’s Canary’ of Akua Naru, she placed pictures of a voodouritual. Some fans screamed but during an interview at Voodoo To Go she told us how essential this unknown side of her is for her music.
Val Jeanty (picture), an Haitian electronic music artist from New York, blew blazing, divine beats through the speakers of her DJ set. Sounds so captivating, dancers sat down to just listen and drift off. She wants to unite people through spiritual art.
Also spiritual body painter Serge Kponton is inspired by Voodoo. What’s inside of us… is Serge Kponton tries to translate into cryptic drawings on our skin. “I feel people’s energy. I was raised as a Christian in Togo, yet I missed this thing in Christianity. I catch people in a visual part. It’s my way of showing how extraordinary someone is. We all have something divine, something powerful society doesn’t want to see. We should be simple and flat but I want to show how beautiful and powerful we are. You can check www.voodoofestival.nl and www.muviews.com for more background information and story’s about this festival.
Besides hosting, I also organised the Voodoo Fashionshow. You may think what voodoo has to do with fashion. The aspect of nature is important within voodoo. The four elements of nature – water, fire, earth and sky – each have their own color and is related to what kind of colors you choose to wear. So the outfit you choose is also influenced by which element is related to uou personality. It was interesting to connect the main spirits of Voodo with fashion. I asked Designer and artist Stella Atal (Paris / Uganda) to inherit ‘Mami Wata’ (mother water). Mami Wata is the spirit of water and one of the most powerful goddesses within Voodoo faith, in a combination of bodyart and African dresses. Beautiful, protective, seductive and potentially deadly.
The unisex ‘Voodoo Collection’ was created by Togolese designers and honors the rainbow spirit Houèdo, the only spirit in Voodoo, whose sex is unclear.
Together with my friend Samira we launched the new inspirational fashion label Zahriyah. A collection made by Ghana and Togo women, and co-designed by us ( nominated for the ASN World Prize 2016.) With their Zahriyah label, they are the Warrior Queen Amina or Zaria (Nigeria). As a part of their girl empowerment training I coached 6 beautiful Eritrean models with refugee status to show the this collection on the catwalk.