Drapo Vodou: Haitian Vodou Flags

October 29, 2008 to November 29, 2008

Works by the Finest Sequin Artists in Haiti

Doubtless the most spectacular Haitian art form is the sequin-covered Drapo Vodou or "Voodoo Flag". Vodou banners derive directly from the practice of the Vodou religion. Vodou is a syncretism of the traditional African religions brought to Haiti by slaves, with the Catholicism of their former masters. The banners are traditionally the work of practicing vodou priests and their followers. They are displayed in the vodou sanctuaries and are carried at the commencement of a ceremony. Each flag depicts the vévé symbol or image of the loa to which it is devoted. These include: Erzulie Freda the female deity, “goddess of love” associated with the Virgin Mary; Ogou, deity of iron and war, associated with St. Jacques; La Sirene and Agoue, the female and male deities of the sea; Legba, gatekeeper and lord of the crossroads, associated with St. Peter; Azaka, the farmer, associated with St. Isidore; Bossou, the bull; Damballah, symbolized by the snake, and paired with St. Patrick; and Baron Samedi, keeper of the cemetery and one of the Ghedes, lords of the underworld. The flags are made of shiny silk fabrics to which have been sewn a brilliant mosaic of sequins and beads. A full-size banner typically contains 18,000 to 20,000 sequins and may take ten days to complete.

While the origins of this ritual art form have been traced back several hundred years, to sources as divwrse as African textiles and French regimental flags, the present form of the vodou flag may date to only the 1950’s. But in the 1970’s and 1980’s, following on the celebrated “Haitian renaissance” in painting and sculpture, the vodou banner also came to the attention of collectors and critics. Artists were able to sell directly to tourists (until tourism essentially ended in the mid-1980’s), and an art market developed for flags as well.

Among the more traditional practitioners of the art who are still working include Sylva Joseph, Clotaire Bazile, and Yves Telemac. The interest of collectors (and collaboration with artists from abroad such as Tina Girouard and Alison Saar) spurred innovation in the medium, and such artists as the late Joseph Oldof Pierre and Antoine Oleyant brought the art form to a new plane of creativity. Since the death of Antoine Oleyant in 1992, and in spite of the hardships of the political strife and economic embargo in Haiti, other important sequin artists such as Eveland Lalanne, Roland Rockville, Petit Frere Mogirus, Maxon Scylla, and George Valris have come to prominence.

The most recent and exciting development in the art of Drapo is the emergence of the “wedding-dress factory artists”, such as Myrlande Constant, Evelyn Alcide, Roudy Azor and the late Amina Simeon. These artists, several of whom had worked at a now-closed wedding-dress factory in Port-au-Prince, introduced techniques of dense and intricate beading and sequins to the art of the drapo. This allowed much finer detail of design and subtlety of color, and encouraged the introduction of more painterly techniques such as shading and perspective to the medium. What were once essentially sequinned religious icons have become ever more complex beaded mosaic paintings.

Erzulie Dantor - Vodou Flag

Erzulie Dantor - Vodou Flag

SKU: MD-1105

Mireille Delice (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (43 1/2" x 43 1/2"), c.2010.
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon.

$3200

Rencontre Dambalah - La Sirene

SKU: AZ0801

Sequins and beads on fabric
(34" x 45 1/2"), c.2006

This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon

$ 2,200
Roudy Azor (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)

Agaou Potoco

SKU: AZ0701

Sequins and beads on fabric (48" x 40"), c.2006

This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon

$ 2,200

Diabolo Bossou Antique Vodou Banner

SKU: VYF9

Sequins and beads on fabric (38" x 34"), c.1980

Published in the article, "I Am Going to See Where My Oungan Is": The Artistry of a Haitian Vodou Flagmaker, by Anna Wexler, published in the collection Sacred Possessions (Rutgers University Press, 1997).

$ 1,800
Snake Woman Vodou Flag

Snake Woman Vodou Flag

SKU: BV-1601

Brianville Valris (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (42 x 35), c.2010
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon.
This flag is being sold by Judy Hoffman for the benefit of the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which she founded in Jacmel, Haiti.

$1800
Jan Zombi Vodou Flag

Jan Zombi Vodou Flag

SKU: RA-1601

Roudy Azor (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Beads on fabric (27" x 37 3/4"),
c. 2010
The flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon.
This flag is being sold by Judy Hoffman for the benefit of the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which she founded in Jacmel, Haiti.

$1800
Erzulie Mapiang - Vodou Flag

Erzulie Mapiang - Vodou Flag

SKU: MD-0801

Mireille Delice (Port-au-Prince, Haiti) Sequins and beads on fabric (33" x 30"), c.2005.
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon.  This flag is published in Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti,(2007) by Nancy Josephson, p. 161.

$1800
La Sirene

La Sirene

SKU: LDB0801

Sequins and beads on fabric (54 x 29 1/2), c.2006
This flag is published in the book Spirits in Sequins by Nancy Josephson.

$ 1,800
Product Status: 
Returned to Consignor
"Haida Wedo" (Mamy Wata) Vodou Banner

"Haida Wedo" (Mamy Wata) Vodou Banner

SKU: AZ-1405

Haida Wedo (Mamy Wata) Vodou Banner
Roudy Azor (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (33" x 23 1/2"),
c.2013
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon

 

$1600
Marassa Trois Vodou Flag

Marassa Trois Vodou Flag

SKU: AL-1601

Evelyn Alcide (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (31 1/2 x 25 1/4), c.2010
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon.
This flag is being sold by Judy Hoffman for the benefit of the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which she founded in Jacmel, Haiti.

$1500
Erzulie Dantor Vodou Flag

Erzulie Dantor Vodou Flag

SKU: FTS-1601

Nadine Fortilus (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (36" x 36"),
c.2005
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon.

This flag is being sold by Judy Hoffman for the benefit of the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which she founded in Jacmel, Haiti.

$1500
Manman Marie - Vodou Flag

Manman Marie - Vodou Flag

SKU: EL-0501

Sequins and beads on fabric
(37 x 30) c.2000.
This flag is published in Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti,(2007) by Nancy Josephson, p. 89.

$ 1,200
"Dambalah Haida Wedo" Beaded Drapo

"Dambalah Haida Wedo" Beaded Drapo

SKU: AZ-1407

Dambalah Haida Wedo Beaded Drapo 
Roudy Azor (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (25" x 20"),
c. 2013
The flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon.

 

$1200
Bossou - Vodou Flag

Bossou - Vodou Flag

SKU: AS1501

Amina Simeon ( 1959 - 2008, Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Beads on fabric (28" x 25"),
c.2000
The flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus quite heavy), in the manner of fellow artists Constant, Alcide and Azor.

This flag is being sold by Judy Hoffman for the benefit of the Art Creation Foundation for Children, which she founded in Jacmel, Haiti.

$975
Trois Rois - Vodou Flag

Trois Rois - Vodou Flag

SKU: AS-1201

Amina Simeon (Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 1959 - 2008)
Sequins and beads on fabric
(25" x 22 1/2"), c.1998.
This flag is published in Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti,(2007) by Nancy Josephson, p. 158.

$975