Diverse Religions Expressed through Art
in Special Exhibitions and Collections
plus Programs — All with Free Admission

Mami Wata: Arts for Water Spirits in Africa and Its Diasporas
August 4 – January 2, 2011
This exhibition presents 100 traditional and contemporary artworks featuring the water deity known as Mami Wata (“Mother Water”) and her consorts from across the African continent as well as from the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States. This rich variety of art forms includes magnificent masks, kinetic sculptures, vibrant paintings, and inspired shrine recreations.

Vodoun/Vodounon: Portraits of Initiates 
October 13 – March 20, 2011
Paired images by Belgian photographer Jean Dominique Burton portray Vodoun practitioners in Benin and their sacred shrines, providing an exceptional glimpse into the esoteric domain of this traditional Fon religion, now practiced throughout West Africa and the African Diaspora.

Collection Galleries
The Center’s collections reflect religions throughout history, from Chinese Shang dynasty ritual vessels used for ancestor worship, to ancient Egyptian representations of the sun god Ra, the Nile god Ha’pi, as well as Horus and Isis, and to Venus and other gods from the Roman pantheon. Art from recent millennia includes figures from Eastern religions — Vishnu, Siva, Daoist Immortals, Buddha, bodhisattvas, guardians, and a Jain saint — and Christian altarpieces, images of saints, a Spanish colonial painting of the Last Judgment, as well as Auguste Rodin’s masterpiece the “Gates of Hell.” The galleries of Native American art present Northwest Coast regalia for dancers endowed with supernatural powers and a Zapotec urn depicting the god of rain and lightning. The gallery for African art abounds with references to gods and spiritual power.

Free Programs
Docent Tours of “Mami Wata”, Thursdays at 12:15 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 pm
Ceremonial Blessing of the “Vodoun” exhibition, Wednesday, October 13, 5 pm
Lecture “Sacred Waters: Arts for Mami Wata and Other Divinities in Africa/Diaspora,” by Henry Drewal, Ph.D.
October 28, 6 pm
Films
Legacy of the Spirits, Thursday, November 4, 6 pm
The Price of Forgiveness (Ndeysaan), Thursday, November 11, 6 pm
Mammy Water: In Search of the Water Spirits in Nigeria, Thursday, November 18, 6 pm
Performance by Afoutayi Dance Company, Thursday, December 2, at 6 pm
Lecture “Gods without Green Cards,” by Donald Cosentino, Ph.D., Wednesday, March 2, 5 pm (rescheduled from Jan. 13)

Free Admission: Wednesday–Sunday 11 am–5 pm, Thursdays until 8 pm. Open July 4th

Media Contact: Anna Koster, Head of Communications, 650-725-4657, akoster@stanford.edu




Mamissi

 

 

 

 

Koffi

 

 

 

Priestess
Jean-Dominique Burton
Mamissi Togbesson Toffodji
Photograph
Courtesy of Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerp, Brussels

Shrine
Jean-Dominique Burton
Koffi
Photograph
Courtesy of Fifty One Fine Art Photography, Antwerp, Brussels