Boutey Vodou, Bawon Samedi


Glass bottle, basil leaves and flowers, maple syrup, red wine, streamer, soda can, cardboard box, tape, broken balloon
This bottle is dedicated to Bawon Samedi. The interior of the bottle depicts the contradicting powers of the lwa while the exterior is simple flourish made to follow suit with design of others like it.

Bottles are an important part of the typical Vodou altar. On one hand, they are easy to find and cheap to access, but on the other they can convey messages in interesting ways due to the nature of the bottle. What is inside the bottle can be something carried, or something sent, like a message in a bottle for example. Found objects are very important to Vodou art, in class we discussed an art exhibit where there many sculptures made out of scrap metals, not unlike those giant statues seen at the Soda Plant on pine street here in Burlington.

In this particular piece, I decided to dedicate it to a specific lwa. A lwa is a Vodou spirit that would receive prayer, gifts, ceremonies amongst other things. They are also powerful enough to possess people.  Often altars are made for them and pleasing them will offer good fortune and safety, failure to please them will anger them.

Bawon Samedi, the lwa for which I made this bottle, is the lwa of the dead. He is kind of like the grim reaper in popular culture. When your time to exit the mortal world comes, Bawon Samedi will come to bury you. However, this exact power also grants him the ability to disallow people death, he can outright refuse to put you in the ground, keeping you alive. He also has the ability to cure many deadly illnesses if he sees a good reason to keep someone alive. One might make an altar to Bawon Samedi if they want to keep good health and long life in their family.

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