Bondye: Between and Beyond at New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), January 25 – June 16, 2019

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) presents Bondye: Between and Beyond featuring a series of sequined prayer flags by Tina Girouard with Haitian artists in Port-au-Prince, where she established a workshop with accomplished sequin artists such as Edgar Jean-Louis and George Valris. Inspired by the blend of Caribbean, African and European culture in her own Louisiana hometown, these flags reference a range of international traditions expressed in Vodou, from All Saints Day in France to New Orleans Mardi Gras and Haitian Kanaval. 

The elaborate  displayed in Bondye: Between and Beyond pay tribute to the spirits of Haitian Vodou. These unseen entities, or loa, act as intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds and exist in many nations and cultures, reflecting the melding of West African, Catholic and Haitian spiritual practices that inform the practice of Vodou. In Vodou ritual, sequined flags beckon these loa from beyond, bringing messages of faith and hope to the supreme spiritual force, known as Bondye, which represents pure goodness and the highest principle of the universe. 

Beginning in the 1960s, Tina Girouard was among a prominent group of artists from Louisiana who arrived on the national scene that included Keith Sonnier, Lynda Benglis, and Dickie Landry. These artists countered the more austere minimalist art being made at the time with exuberant color, eclectic compositions, and unorthodox new materials that reflected Louisiana’s diverse local culture. In works like these sequined flags, their art gave visibility to new voices and perspectives from within and beyond the borders of the United States.” — New Orleans Museum of Art

Photographs by Roman Alokhin, courtesy New Orleans Museum of Art.

Tina Girouard. LEGBA, c. 1992. Sequins, beads, fabric. 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard.

Tina Girouard. TOUSSAINT, 1991. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard.

Tina Girouard. DAMBALA, 1991 Sequins, beads, fabric. 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard.

Tina Girouard and George Valris. ERZULIE, 1991. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. OGOU, 1992. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. SIMBI, c. 1992. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist

Tina Girouard. AGOUE, 1991. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. LA SIRENE, c. 1995. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. MARASSA, 1992. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard and Edgar Jean-Louis. AZACA, 1992. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. BOUSSOU, 1991. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. GRAND BOIS, 1991. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. PAPA LOCO, 1991. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

Tina Girouard. SOBO BADE, c. 1992. Sequins, beads, fabric, 43 x 72 in. Collection of the Artist ©Tina Girouard

 Bondye: Between and Beyond is co-curated by Nicolas Brierre Aziz, Curator of the Haitian Cultural Legacy Collection, and Katie A. Pfohl, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at NOMA.