Leah Gordon explores the links between Vodou and art, in both Haiti’s rich art history and contemporary practice. Leah will discuss the use of image and artefact within Vodou ritual and the often, interchangeable role of artist and Houngan (Vodou priest). To conclude Gordon will explore the liminal space that contemporary artists currently inhabit whilst trying to negotiate their ancestral histories and cultural antecedents within a contemporary art market which still has a conflicted relationship toward ethnographic and ritual objects.

Leah Gordon will discuss these issues from her experience of co-curating ‘PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince’ at Pioneer Works, Red Hook, Brooklyn, ‘Kafou: Haiti, Art & Vodou’ at the Nottingham Contemporary, ‘In Extremis: Death & Life in 21st Century Haitian Art’ at the Fowler Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, as one of the directors of the Ghetto Biennale and as an adjunct curator for the Haitian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale.

Speaker  Bio

Leah Gordon (born Ellesmere Port, UK) is an artist, curator, and writer. Her work explores the intervolved and intersectional histories of the Caribbean plantation system, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the Enclosure Acts and the creation of the British working-class. In the 1980’s she wrote lyrics, sang, and played for a feminist folk punk band. Gordon’s film and photographic work has been exhibited internationally including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; the Dak’art Biennale; the National Portrait Gallery, UK and the Norton Museum of Art, Florida. She is the co-director of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; was a curator for the Haitian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale; was the co-curator of ‘Kafou: Haiti, History & Art’ at Nottingham Contemporary, UK; and was the co-curator of ‘PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince’ at Pioneer Works, NYC in 2018 and MOCA, Miami in 2019. In 2022 she will be exhibiting and curating at documenta fifteen, Kassel.