Dances with Spirits

mami_wata_papittaret

October 7, 2015 – January 31, 2016

Being a western globetrotter, I marvel the variety in which I see the social rites of various cultures appear. The world may be getting more uniform; all over, the model for a good life seems to be directed by the global market economy and the allmighty entertainment industry – however, you can still find locations where the primordial mythological world view keeps producing lived-in manifestations.

Being an architect, I am inspired by the natural ability of human beings to occupy a space with their mere presence. That presence has a potential of creating significant art – art of being, art of space and place, architecture for which to emerge you don’t need walls, let alone architects.

Being a visual artist, I can’t stop admiring the power of ceremonies and rituals as work of art – as sensual and emotional, fleeting performances that seem to have no author, that seem to make the participants as well as the audience merge into
to whole.

Being a non-believer, I beware all the power play, hybris and corruption connected to religions – however, I can’t help yearning for the benefits promised to a religious practitioner: the resource of the community; the healing power of ceremonies; the method the religions offer their practitioners to gain a balance with the world, with fellow human beings and with themselves.

Jouni Kaipia


The photographs of the exhibition mostly depicted ceremonies of Mami Wata, Heviosso and Zangbeto communities.

The photographs were taken in Benin and Togo in 2009-2010 and 2012.