Beads and sequins on fabric
Museum Purchase, Manus Fund. X94.14.3
The Sacrifices of Dark Madonnas and Black Pigs
The Haitian Revolution, according to legend, started with a Vodou ceremony at Bwa Kayiman near Cap-Haïtien on August 14, 1791. Before a gathering of insurgent leaders, a priestess (manbo) possessed by the fierce goddess Ezili Dantò sacrificed a black creole pig (kochon kreyòl), thus sealing the participants and their divinities to their daunting task. This drapo dedicated to Dantò in her incarnation as the scarred Black Madonna of Częstochowa, complete with sequined kochon and ritual accoutrements, crystallizes the spirit of the once and forever Revolution. Also referenced here may be the near, if not complete, extermination of the creole pig in the 1980s under the direction of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of an effort to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever. A crushing blow to the rural economy, this sacrifice of kochon kreyòl will likewise be long remembered.