A Dance with the Ancestors – Salym Fayad


A Dance with the ancestors is a look at the spiritual beliefs of Benin. Voodoo is a complex system of beliefs, one of the official religions in Benin, and practised by more than 30 million people in West Africa. These beliefs have travelled, and some of the traditions have been misrepresented and misunderstood in the West. The small coastal city of Ouidah is considered the birthplace of voodoo and a main stronghold of this religion. Ouidah was also one of the most notorious slave ports in Africa. From here, voodoo rituals and spirits travelled to the Americas together with thousands of West Africans who were forcefully sent to European colonies on the other side of the Atlantic. Voodoo adepts participate in worshipping ceremonies during National Voodoo Day in Ouidah on 10 January, declared an annual public holiday by President Mathieu Kerekou in 1998. This set of photographs is part of a work in progress: a multimedia piece drawing links between voodoo in West Africa and Afro-Colombian literature and traditions.