The late Marilyn Houlberg (1939–2012) was an artist, photographer, art historian, anthropologist, professor, curator, and collector. During her lifetime she helped advance the scholarship on and increase the recognition of artists from Haiti, particularly in her role as cocurator of the exhibitions Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou (1995) and In Extremis: Death and Life in Twenty-First-Century Haiti (2012). In her commitment to support the creative endeavors of artists living in historically marginalized communities in urban Haiti, Houlberg blurred cultural and professional boundaries, raising questions about her roles and responsibilities within the communities of artists and religious practitioners with whom she worked. This essay addresses problems and complexities in Houlberg’s work and activities in Haiti by relying on her extensive field notes, photographs, published works, and other archival materials.

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