Representing Loup Gawou

The performance documented, in part, above was created by theatre group Jakmel Ekspresyon and Haitian poet, Jean Elie Gilles, and took place at the Gran Ri in Port-au-Prince during the Ghetto Biennale. The piece was produced following a series of interviews and conversations with the people of Jakmel about what the mystic figure of Loup Gawou means to them. The vibrant performance demonstrated the many faces of the shapeshifting Loup Gawou and its metaphoric use in reference to the unknown, represented for example by foreigners or criminal entities.

In Guadeloupean tradition the equivalent spirit would be the zonbi or mofwazé (zombie here differing from the Haitian understanding of the term, i.e. somebody who passes for dead and returns to walk this earth). The word mofwazé, in Guadeloupean Creole, refers to someone capable of transforming themselves or metamorphosing according to their needs. For example a great deal of mofwazaj occurs in the run up to the elections in Gwada, when local political actors become desperately pandering zonbi!!!

Photo by Gilles Jean-Elie

Photo by Gilles Jean-Elie

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