The Verbal Art Foundation

Palace of the kings of Dahomey in Benin.

Marjolijn Grool founded the Verbal art foundation in 2009.

Verbal art covers a wide range of stories that represent the knowledge, the beliefs, and the collective memory of a culture that has no tradition of written records. Storytellers usually perform these stories in order to pass on this traditional knowledge to the younger generations of a community. Today, The stories are forgotten, the meaning of symbols and metaphors are no longer understood and the songs loose their original functions. Also, the way of speaking of the storytellers is quickly fading away and is replaced by the language mix of the urban areas. The specific idiom is replaced by the idiom of the metropolis. In view of its significance, verbal art must be preserved as part of the intangible heritage of a culture. stories are of enormous value for any cultural entity. Verbal art is classified as one of the Oral Traditions within the intangible heritage of a culture, as defined by the Unesco.

Its mission is to contribute to the preservation of verbal art. Foundation supported the resaearch and publication of theree boks obout the Voodoo stories collected bij Marjolijn Aalders Grool:

  • Marjolijn Aalders Grool, 2017 A Journey to Gods and Comrades,
  • Marjolijn Aalders Grool, 2014 Vodun Stories of the Fon (Benin)
  •  Marjolijn Aalders Grool, 2014, Verbal Art of the Fon (Benin)

The foundation has supported the archiving of the original recordings, the transcripions into the Fon language and the translation into English of the stories entrusted to Marjolijn Aalders Grool by the storytellers in the South of Benin, in the seventies of the last century. These data are now digital stored at the Max PlankInstiturte in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. These data are can be used by researchers and scholars for further research.

The foundation also supported project of giving back the stories that were entrusted to Marjolijn Aalders Grool the the people of Benin in 2015.

At present, the foundation is to ensure the accessibility of the the available data and publications.