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Drapo Vodou:
Haitian Vodou Flags

Por un Mundo Mejor
La Sirene Vodou Banner (#AC0701)
Evelyn Alcide (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (34 1/2" x 41" ),
c.2006
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon


Works by the Finest Sequin Artists in Haiti: Evelyn Alcide, Roudy Azor, Myrlande Constant, Clotaire Bazile, Silva Joseph, Eveland Lalanne, Antoine Oleyant, Maxon Scylla, Yves Telemak, George Valris and others.

Show dates: Thursday, October 9 through Saturday, November 29.
Opening: Second Thursday, October 9, 5 to 9pm.

Special Event - Saturday, October 25, 3pm: Lecture and Book-signing by Nancy Josephson, artist, student of vodou, and author of Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti

Show continues through: November 29th, 2008

Location: Indigo Arts, in its new location in the Crane Arts Buiding, Suite #104, 1400 North American St., Philadelphia, PA 19122.

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.



Ceremonie Bossou Vodou Banner (#YT0502)
Yves Telemak (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (40 x 32), 2002

$975



Manman Marie Vodou Banner
Eviland Lalanne (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (37 x 30)
c.2000

$1100



Rencontre Dambalah - La Sirene Vodou Banner (#AZ0801)
Roudy Azor (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
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

$2200



Agaou Potocoli Vodou Banner (#AZ0701)
Roudy Azor (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
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

$2200



La Croix Vodou Banner (#GV/D0604)
Georges Valris (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (38 x 27 ), c.2006

$825


Aizan Vodou Banner (#LD/V0601)
Lherison DeBrise (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (36 x 24 1/2),
c.2006

$775




Ceremonie Freda Vodou Banner (#YT0503)
Yves Telemak (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric with fringe
(41 x 33), 2005

$975



La Sirene Vodou Banner (#GV/D0603)
Georges Valris (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (38 1/2 x 27 ), c.2006

$700


La Sirene Vodou Banner (#MC/D0302)
Myrlande Constant (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (27 x 34), c. 2002

$1600



La Sirene Vodou Banner (#LM/V0601)
Lamarre (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (21 1/2 x 26)
c.2006

$875



Deux Ghedes Vodou Banner (#GV/D0503)
Georges Valris (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (41 x 35), c.2005

$900


Grand Bois Vodou Banner
Silva Joseph (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (30 x 29), c.1987

$650



Erzulie Freda Vodou Banner
Amina Simeon (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (24 x 24),
c.1998
This flag is published in the book Spirits in Sequins by Nancy Josephson.

$975


Marinette Vodou Banner (#AC0802)
Evelyn Alcide (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (36 1/2" x 34"),
c.2007
This flag is extremely densely beaded and sequinned (and thus extremely heavy), in the manner of the artists Constant and Simeon

$2200



La Sirene and Damballa Vodou Banner (#MS/D0506)
Maxon Scylla (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (37 1/2 x 34)
c.2005

$875



Erzulie Dantor Vodou Banner (#GV/D0805)
Georges Valris (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (40 1/2 x 34), c.2008

$900


La Sirene Vodou Banner (#LDB0801)
Lherison DeBrise (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
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.

$1800


Trois Marassas/Three Graces Vodou Banner (#GV/D0806)
Georges Valris (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
Sequins and beads on fabric (40 1/2 x 34 1/2), c.2008


Nancy Josephson will be speaking about vodou flags on Oct. 25th, 2008. Nancy is a woman of diverse talents. Widely known as a visionary artist, her installation pieces were featured in a 2000 exhibit at the Halles St. Pierre Museum in Paris, and the 2004 exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Holy H2O: Fluid Universe. Both as an artist and as a student of vodou, she has worked and studied with Haiti’s best sequin artists. She is the author of the most recent and most complete book on vodou flags, Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti for Schiffer Press. Nancy is also an accomplished musician who has performed with the David Bromberg Band and is currently touring with the Angel Band, of which she is founding member.


More new Drapo Vodou to be added soon!

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1400 North American St., #104 • Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: (215) 765-1041 • Toll Free: (888) INDIART • Fax: (215) 765-1042
E-Mail: indigofamily@indigoarts.com

All photographs and text Copyright Indigo Arts Gallery, LLC., 1998-2008. Use without permission prohibited.

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