Museum brings on two new exhibits for fall

Brigitte Riordan

The Fleming Museum of Art will present two new exhibitions Sept. 26, one local and one from the other side of the world.

“Spirited Things: Sacred Arts of the Black Atlantic,” will be an exhibition of “sacred objects from the Yoruba religion of West Africa, as well as Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santeria, Brazilian Candomble and Caribbean Spiritism,” according to the Fleming’s website.

Perhaps the most talked about event of the season, according to the Fleming website, “a public event unprecedented in Burlington history—a sacred festival led by Haitian priestess Manmi Maude in honor of the gods of Vodou,” will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct.12 at the Fleming Museum.

Opening along with “Spirited Things” is an exhibition of work by painter Herbert Barnett titled “Vermont Life and Landscape, 1940-1948,” the website stated.

Both exhibitions will open Sept. 26, and the Fall Opening Reception will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Marble Court of the Fleming. “Spirited Things” is unlike anything done before in the area.

“Spirited Things” is years in the making. Several events and programs will accompany the exhibition in a collaborative effort by the UVM religion department and the Fleming Museum.

“We’re coming at it both from this perspective of the scholarly study of religions by academics but also the practice of religions,” curator Andrea Rosen said.

“Spirited Things” features colorful objects of religious and spiritual significance. For the duration of the exhibit, the Fleming will simultaneously serve as a museum and an active spiritual sight, Rosen said.
These objects have been brought together and arranged in a way that is stunning to look at and raises questions of value and spirituality across cultures, Rosen said.

“We are bringing in these scholars from academia, but we’re also bringing in practitioners, we’re bringing in Santeria and Vodou priests and priestesses,” Rosen said. “The fact that we’re blending both is a little groundbreaking.”

A talk with curatorial consultant to “Spirited Things” J. Lorand Matory will mark the beginning of a Speaker Series titled Religious Objects and Embodied Practices in the Black Atlantic, hosted by the religion department.

The talk will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 26 in the Livak Ballroom of the Davis Center.

The events and programs this fall present “the opportunity to learn more about religions like Haitian Vodou or Cuban Santeria that we hear about but have a lot of misconceptions about,” Rosen said. For more information, visit the museum’s website.