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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 22, 2007

(Mahwah) – A lecture, “Winds of the Spirit: Haitian Vodun Art,” by Yale University art historian Dr. Robert Farris Thompson, will be presented Thursday, February 1 at 8 p.m. in the Sharp Theater on the campus of Ramapo College of New Jersey.  Admission to the lecture is free.  The lecture will be given in conjunction with an art exhibit, An Apparently Unimportant Event:  Self-Taught from the Centre d’Art in the 1940s and 50s.

Drawn from the private collection of film director Jonathan Demme, this historic exhibition features renowned Haitian artists brought to the fore by American critic and Ramapo College donor Selden Rodman while he was co-director of the Centre d’Art in Haiti.  Included are such masters as Hector Hyppolite, Philomé Obin, Wilson Bigaud and Castera Bazile.

In his book, Flash of the Spirit, Thompson describes vodun, first elaborated in Haiti, as having “inspired a remarkable tradition of sacred art.”  Thompson is regarded as one of the world’s most significant African art historians and is renowned for his compelling lectures.

Thompson has taught at Yale since 1961, and has served as visiting curator at UCLA’s Museum of Ethnic Arts and at the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution.  He has organized several major exhibitions, including The Four Moments of the Sun and The Face of the Gods: Shrines and Altars of the Black Atlantic World at the
National Gallery of Art.  In addition, the professor has received research grants from the Ford Foundation, the Yale Concilium on International and Area Studies, the National Institute of Medicine and Science, the National Institute of the Museums of Zaire, and the
National Gallery of Art.  He has served on the Joint Committee on African Studies of the Social Science Research Council and American Council of Learned Societies, as chairman on the Humanities Committee of the African Studies Association and in numerous capacities at Yale.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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