Elegba, 2004, 48 x 70 x 130 in. picket fences, wire, straw.
A site specific sculpture that references Haitian Vodun tradition. On the large patch of land in Woodstock at the crossroads where Glasco Tpke meets Upper Byrdcliff Road, I installed picket fences into the ground to form the Veve of the Haitian loa of the Crossroads, Legba (AKA Elegba) .
Veve are symbolic designs representing the attributes of the loa (spirit) traced on the ground with maise, (most often) flour, ash coffee grounds or brick dust. These “celebrated blazons of the vodun goddesses and gods” are traced by priestesses or priests on the earth around the central column of the vodun dancing courts. They praise, summon and incarnate all at once the Vodun deities of Haiti. Luminous force then radiates, so it is believed, from the bottom of this pillar in the form of the blazing herald-white signatures of the goddesses and gods. The veve are then erased by the dancing feet of devotees, circling around the pillar, even as, in spirit possession, the figures of these deities are redrawn in their flesh.
Legba_is the god who “removes the barrier” and who, in ceremonies, is saluted first of all loa. He is the interpreter to the gods and without him they could not communicate with each other nor could human beings communicate with them No loa dares show itself without Legba’s permission. He holds the “key to the spiritual world”. Master of the mystic barrier which divides men from spirits, Legba is also the guardian of the gates and of the fences which surround houses and by extension he is the protector of the home. He is also the god of roads and paths. As “Master of Crossroads” he is the god of every parting of the way- a favorite haunt of evil spirits and propitious to magic devices; and it is at crosssroads that he receives the homage of sorcerers and presides over their incarnations and spells.