Starting in 2015, “Exuegguá” was launched to bring some light to the pantheon, rituals and cosmogony of a religion that is still a big mistery in the Western World apart from the spooky and familar characters of the cannibal, the zombie and the the black sorcerer. I am talking about African matrix religions. I am talking about Voodoo.
I took as a starting point the evolution of one of its more enigmatic entities (Legba, Exu, Elegguá) along the journey of the slaves, documenting and recording his transformations and adaptations from its origin in Benin to all the way down to Cuba, Brazil and then Haiti. Exu is a totem in West Africa, it has no real anthropomorphic representation, it is a child in Cuba, a young seductive man in Brazil and an old man in Haiti.
Exu is the energy for change and mutation. It is hard to define whether his influences are good or evil, but to say the least they are challenging. He is the one in charge of the communication with the other Orishas, he is in charge of the crossroads and he is the one placing obstacles on your way for you to redeem the control on your won life.
With this project the aim is to bring an accessible representation of one of the most enigmatic entities there is in contemporary spirituality, and provide an approach to African religions based on both documentary record and visual transcription of the myths and legends.
There is no surprise in having some African cultural manifestation misunderstood and disparaged, but in these times of rising fanaticism, I believe some fresh air could eventually come in handy.
The actual advance of Evangelical churches in Africa, Brazil and Haiti and the historical ban on all religions in Cuba is literally threatening the survival of African matrix religions and compromising a quite unique cultural heritage that could bring some substantial input to the non-official version of History.
This project is produced in collaboration with photographer Cristina De Middel.