Spirit Desire Photography Fund

$3,375 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 59 people in 32 months
Who I Am

Sokari Ekine is a Nigerian British community photographer and writer based in Haiti and the US.

The Project

Spirit Desire : - Resistance, Imagination and Sacred Memories in Haitian Vodoun”

“Spirit Desire” is a celebration of Haitian Vodoun as a site of resistance, decolonization and community. The series which includes images of everyday living, ritual and ceremony, aims to shift the gaze from representations that depict Vodoun as negative and present a decolonizing narrative: one in which Vodouisants engage with a consciousness and spirituality that celebrates our humanity rather than focusing on a set of prescribed normative identities.
Exploring the dance, song, possession, drumming, aesthetics and ritual of Vodoun through photography allows me to express the freedom of an unbound imagination that recognizes the power of the self and the spirit within us as a multidimensional force which stretches far into the past and into the future.

Why It's Important

It is important for me to document a series of ceremonies that will take place in July 2016 as a continuation of my photography work in Haiti  over the past three years . These particular ceremonies take place once every seven years over a period of 4 weeks and celebrate multiple spiritual presences known as the Loa.

The ceremonies take place at Lakou Badjo  which is the oldest of the Grand Lakou [Spiritual Compound] of Gonaïves , founded in 1792 by Badjo Pady the son of a Yoruba ensalved man,   Azo Pady.   Vodoun was central to the Haitian revolution and continues to be an integral aspect of Haitian culture and a site of resistance.

My Goal

My goal is to raise $5,000 for photographer’s expenses including two Haitian collaborators,  to document the July ceremonies as well as to visit other Lakou and Vodoun Societies I have come to know in Gonaïves.   

More on the historical significance of Lakou Badjo

Lakou Badjo is one of the three grand Lakou  of Gonaïves in the Artibonite region of Haiti. The two others are, Lakou Soukri and Lakou Souvenance. All three were founded prior to the Haitian independence in 1804. 

Lakou Badjo, the oldest of the three spiritual compounds was founded in 1792, 12 years prior to independence in 1804. The founder, Badjo Pady, was born in Haiti and came with his mother and father, Azo Pady, to the area which is now the Lakou. Little is known about Azo Pady except he was born in Yorubaland and was captured and enslaved, brought to Haiti and escaped with his wife and children to join the revolution.

Any contributions you can make, large or small, not only help to support this project, but also serve to generate positive awareness about Vodoun,  is greatly appreciated.

Websites:  Black Looks:2     Black Looks: 1 ,

Gifts to you for your support to be delivered by 30th September 2016

$10 or more, receive a postcard

$25 or more, receive a set of four postcards

$75 or more, receive 2 sets of four postcards

$100 or more, receive t one 8 x 10 BW image

$250 or more, receive one Spirit Desire T-Shirt
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This is a reminder to email me your address by the 24th October if you would like the gifts according to your contributions.


Thanks sokari
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Dear Friends

I want to thank you all for your generous support of my Spirit Desire fundraiser. Because of you I was able to return to Haiti in July/August with the intention of photographing the 7 year month long ceremony at Lakou Badjo, the oldest of the Grand Lakou [spiritual compounds] in Haiti. I was able to financially support my two Haitian collaborators, Rony Desire and Kenel Jean and together with Sandrine Stadiwe we all travelled to Gonaïves and Lakou Badjo. As a member of the Lakou I was also able to make a financial donation as is customary. Ceremonies such as this one are hugely expensive and unfortunately for the first time in its history, the Lakou was unable to raise the necessary funds and the ceremony was postponed until July 2017.

Although the cancellation had a devastating impact on myself and my crew we were able to create a series of beautiful photographs at the salt mines outside Gonaïves. These photos allowed me to recognize the secular nature of the Spirit Desire project as well as understand the impact of the project in other Diasporic communities.

Your support has encouraged my ongoing work on the project particularly as I am continuing to work in Haiti and carry it forward on the continent.

Given that I would like to honor you with the gifts according to your contributions please email me your home address on or before 15th October so I can mail the prints.
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Dear Friends

This has been an awesome campaign in which you helped me raise $3,960. I am grateful to each one of you for enabling me to carry out this important archival work. I would like to give special thanks to Kagendo Murungi and Alexis De Veaux for encouraging me to undertake the Gofundme with such faith in my work.

I must also thank the Servité and people of Lakou Badjo for inviting me into their family and giving me their trust.

I look forward to the opportunity to share my work over the coming months including the donation gifts which will be sent after my return to the US in the fall.
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2016 is proving to be a special year with 2 exhibitions coming up in Salvador Brazil and in Berlin and this weeks featured Black artist at the Mckenna Museum for African American Art - see more here http://bit.ly/20QbEet

Below is a brief review of Spirit Desire by Luam Kidane @luamkidane & @nsorommaglobal

"The work of Sokari Ekine continues the legacy of Black cultural producers who are committed to the liberation of Black peoples. Using the medium of photography Sokari reminds us of the intersections between cultural production, resistance, decolonization, ritual and community. Importantly, Sokari's artistic practice does not begin and end with taking photographs, she takes the time and care to build accountable relationships with the communities she is documenting. This depth of connection is evident in each of her photographs. Spirit Desire: Resistance, Imagination and Sacred Memories in Haitian Vodoun, Sokari's latest photographic series in Lakou Badjo, consists of "images of everyday living, ritual and ceremony, [and] aims to shift the gaze from representations that depict Vodoun as negative and present a decolonizing narrative." Please support Sokari to return to Lakou Badjo to finish the series and complete a three year journey." Luam Kidane
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$3,375 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 59 people in 32 months
Created April 6, 2016
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Kathy Engel
30 months ago

Thank you Sokari for living and giving so fully and gorgeously. I'm moved and grateful. Your project makes me want to be part of it!! You are an inspiration. I will share the work with friends, colleagues, students.....Love Kathy

Naima Karlsson
30 months ago

Good luck with this project! It looks fascinating and wonderful x Naima

Baron Samedi
31 months ago

Laga e sen aki multiplika - Letting these dollar$ multiply to complete this project

Ella Engel-Snow
31 months ago

Inspire: to make someone feel that they want to do something and can do it.

Madeleine Ostlie
31 months ago

Ibz is such a lovely man. You deserve the funds just for bringing him up so well.

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