Prefete Duffaut

Haiti b. 1923
Madonna with Horns 2002.0013

Préfète Duffaut is from the port city of Jacmel. Prior to becoming a professional artist, he worked as a shipbuilder. He joined the Centre d'Art in 1948. Vodou has a strong presence in Duffaut's artwork. He has created numerous representations of the vodou spirit Ezili, who is linked with the Madonna. Duffaut's painting shows one manifestation of Ezili, the vodou goddess of love, who is associated with the Virgin Mary. Here it is Ezili-taureau from the family of taureau (bull) spirits. This group has a greater significance in the area Jacmel, the artist's home town, than in other parts of Haiti. The taureau (bull) family is said to be Creole, meaning that these spirits were created in Haiti, rather than originating in Africa. Individuals possessed by the frightful spirit Ezili-taureau moo like a bull. This is in contrast to those possessed by Ezili Freda, the goddess of love, known for her dancing, flirting, and beauty. In Haitian vodou, the lwa (spirits) have different manifestations, each categorized by their own colors, preferred sacrifices, physical characteristics, and behavior. Madonna with Horns includes numerous instruments of the vodou ceremony. There is the vèvè (ritual drawing) on the ground, and basin and cup for offerings and libations. The drum is a sacred instrument, and the various x's on the ground mark pwen (power points) that infuse the area with sacred power. The whip symbolizes discipline, which is very important during ritual acts. Sometimes in vodou ceremonies, the animal to be sacrificed and the person who offers it only switch places and roles at the last minute. The horned creatures on either side of Ezili may represent these individuals, but more likely, are representations of other members of the taureau (bull) family of spirits.




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