Voodoo in Stockholm

In 2011, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm hosted a completely unique exhibition relating to the religious symbols of Haiti, voodoo. Or vodou, as they spell it in Haiti.

We are guided around the exhibition by Clas Günther, exhibitions manager at the Museum of Ethnography, and curator Michael Barret, an expert on the subject, the week before the exhibition opens. This is normally a stressful time for exhibition builders, but both Clas and Michael are calm. Their preparation work has been in progress for more than a year, and they are now putting the finishing touches to the stands and lighting.

For people spoonfed on images of voodoo from American films and other sources, this exhibition is quite a surprise, if not a real awakening. We encounter fascinating and mystical artefacts on our tour through the light and dark forces of vodou. Artefacts which we could not imagine even existed.

Clas Günther explains in detail the process of transporting, storing, unpacking and arranging the artefacts, almost 300 of them. From small dolls to huge mirrors. All these things originally came from Marianne Lehman, a collector on the island of Haiti, who started buying items for what is now the world’s biggest collection of vodou artefacts almost fifty years ago. The exhibition has been put together for an international tour. It has previously been on display in Geneva, Berlin, Amsterdam, Gothenburg and Bremen.

– The exhibition came to us from Berlin in a large truck with a trailer supplied by MTAB. Then we had four weeks in which to prepare the fragile artefacts at a storage facility that we had to empty for that very purpose, explains Clas Günther.

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