Report: Discovering the Dominican Republic
The Dominican republic occupies two thirds of the island of La Hispaniola. The other one third of the island is Haiti. This past Summer, thanks to the Otis College of Art and Design Faculty Improvement Grant, I traveled to the Dominican Republic to research issues of African folk religions and issues of identity. Haiti and the Dominican Republic have a history of political and cultural tensions dating back to the nineteenth century. After its emancipation from France, Haiti invaded the Dominican Republic and stayed from 1849 to 1850. This invasion not only brought two countries with two distinct colonial histories to a violent encounter it also allowed for the free exchange of traditions and folk practices.
Dominican folk religious practice or Dominican Vudu is a direct result of the geographical and historical closeness. The pantheon and the practices are very similar to Haitian Vodou yet Dominicans have also added their own flavor to the practice. In this context Haiti is both the invader, source of cheap labor, the boggy man, and sacred land at once.
The following images can provide a glimpse of this fascinating country.