Voodoo Series 2003 | Joe Pollitt
Here are a series of images I took in the Republic of Benin in West Africa. The work was created in 2003 on a trip to the source of the origins of Voodoo with the artist, Charly D'Almeida who lives and works in the Port of Cotonou. The meaning of the word Cotonou is "The Mouth of River of Death". Charly is moving his family out of Paris and back to Cotonou for good this month and so I have posted up these images as a reminder of a trip taken a few years back and hopefully it will encourage me to go again.
The Garden of England has become overgrown, full of weeds and the landscape seems so dreary and dull. The weather is creeping under my skin like a filthy virus; like herpes, genital warts or HIV and Aids. I want red soil under foot and the smell of sea air, coconut water....good for me-daughter....Fufu, peanut soup and red plantains and gary, yams splashed down with warm Palm-wine drunk out of a bamboo pole and Apapa-teche to build me an appetite for living again. I want to be cut with razor-blades from strangers on my arms, waist and back. Cut me 15 times or more and watch my blood slowly drip down my fat hairy pink body and seal the wounds with chickens blood, gin and the spit of the Voodooman, "Le Vieux Homme".
I want to bathe my body in 43 yokey runny mellow eggs and drink tepid red dove's blood and the muddy brown watery herbs directly from God's Creation. I want to slaughter some chickens, black, white, brown and yellow-mixed. I want to wash my face in a sheep's head and rub goat's milk all over my naked sweaty body. I want to murder two black cats stroke kittens and an owl for my healing black soap with Corey shells of different sizes and colours all mixed up and placed in the bulbous dirty orange Calabash for my bath. I want bucket showers and glorious natural shits, wash off with lukewarm mucky water. I want a light-blue bucket with a bumpy white plastic handle to bath with under the generous hot Summer sun. I want a sponge, one blue for my body and one white for my feet that I can see through and rub them all over until my skin turns red-raw and rips to shreds in order to peel me another. I want to brush my teeth with charcoal and sticks all day.
I want Africa to bare me a son; a red hot son with golden locks and pinky blue eyes to see me with. I want the world and all that is in it. I want to pray to the God of Creation. I want to pray in Africa and I want my prayers answered so tomorrow I will fly away to Africa; never to be seen or heard of again....