Lwa Mountain: Post-Crisis Vodou in Haiti

Photo Exhibition, Documentary, and Book Project Launching in 2013-2014

NEW YORK, Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The International Journal of Media and Information Policy(MIPJ) (http://www.mipj.org), announced its involvement with photojournalist Anthony Karen (Life, Slate, Mother Jones), writer and MIPJ Executive Editor K.J. Wetherholt, and documentary director/cinematographer Jan Wellmann (History, Discovery, BBC), on a multi-faceted media project depicting the role of Vodou among a devout group of Vodouisants in Haiti's interior amidst the country's current crises.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130820/MN66591)

Titled Lwa Mountain: Post Crisis Vodou in Haiti, the project will include a traveling photo exhibition, a documentary that will appear on the international film festival circuit, and a print and digital photo/text book published by the MIPJ and distributed internationally via Ingram.

Additionally, select photographs by Karen and an article by Wetherholt will appear as a feature for the 2013 edition of the MIPJ, to be released in October/November 2013 (themed edition: Climate Change, Resource Conflict, the Environment and Human Security).

Further photographs, the documentary film trailer, and a series of articles will be available for additional publications, and will also appear in The Huffington Post.

Karen was most recently featured in Slate, featuring his work on the KKK.

Background of Project:

Haitians have been faced with some of the most horrific of experiences of a recognized "failed state" during the last decades, facing coups, despotic governments, and natural disasters, including the January 2010 earthquake that killed over 300,000 Haitians and left over 1.6 million homeless.

Because of these continuing crises, there has been a veritable "occupation" -- and seeming permanent entrenchment --of international NGO's, governance, and policy contingents, and a non-functioning Haitian government that has been completely ineffective, despite the vast millions in aid pledged by the international community.

Vodou has been the one constant under these circumstances, representing over 50% of the Haitian population. It is the one thing that remains distinctly Haitian, its influence and origin in West Africa and what is currently DRC, in part, having inspired their independence from France in 1804 as the first black-led republic. Today, many are returning to Vodou for comfort, strength, and self-empowerment, in asking for the help and assistance of their ancestors.

This is also despite continued spurious depictions of Vodou in popular culture in a context of horror movies (including the continued zombie phenomenon in film, from the original Bela Lugosi film White Zombie, to this year's World War Z) voodoo dolls, or mistaking it for the Hoodoo of the United States in the Deep South (such as in the upcoming season of American Horror Story: Coven) or Santeria in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, in which such depictions mitigate the earnest influence of the religion on the culture, appeal to sensationalism, or outright demonize its existence.

Project Focus:

Every summer hundreds of Vodouisants take a long journey to a sacred mountain to honor Bondye (Creator God), often being entered by Lwa, or entities that empower them through possession. Offerings are made in various forms, including the sacrifice of animals. Vodouisants give thanks for prayers answered in the previous year, make requests for the upcoming year or attempt to reconnect with lost loved ones or ancestors.

Because of its intensity, and with the dire circumstances most Haitians currently face, this is considered one of the most intensely religious, important and evocative Vodou experiences among this isolated group of Vodouisants.

Project Website and Producer Bios:


Media Contact: KJ Wetherholt, IIPFoundation/MIPJ, (917) 283-2490, kjwetherholt@iipfoundation.org

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SOURCE The International Journal of Media and Information Policy

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