David Butler's bicycle

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    Photo: Richard Gasperi, 1982

One of Butler's best-known creations was his eclectic bicycle, which he proudly rode around town. During his lifetime, Mary Lora wrote, "Butler doesn't care much for cars but rides the most wonderful bicycle. When the wheels turn, little tin birds bob their heads, colorful disks spin, a tiny man moves. There are bows and a flag and all sorts of ornaments." As with his whirligigs, the circular motion of the bicycle may be derived in part from Haitian beliefs in the cyclical rebirth of souls, for Haitian Vodun traditions have strongly influenced the arts and religion in Louisiana. Buder's bicycle, with its added elements, recalls Haitian charms made by combining various elements replete with symbohc and linguistic references. —Maude Southwell Wahlman