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Schools, Styles and Artists:
Drapo Vodou : Spirit Flags

Drapo Vodou is an art-form unique to Haiti. Constructed of sequins and beads hand-sewn onto fabric, these "flags" bring to life the dynamic iconography of Haitian Vodou. A fusion of African religious beliefs, Vodou evolved in Haiti through generations of slavery, and borrows heavily from imagery brought to Haiti by Catholic missionaries. With parallels in Cuban Santeria, Jamaican Obeah, and other religions of the African diaspora, Haitian Vodou has significant popular appeal in Haiti, finding expression in the social, political, and private realms.
Evelyne Alcide, "Alegba"
SF-1151, 36"x51,"
Gabriel Chery, "Bossou"
Sf-1189, 28"x41,"

Antoine Lalane,"Grand bois
VD-599, 31"x37," $2.300
Pulp novels and Hollywood ventures of the 19th and 20th centuries have villainized "Voodoo" as a form of black magic, fixated on the creation of "zombies" to perform sexual and criminal misdeeds. In actual practice, Vodou is concerned with overcoming daily hardships, communing with one's ancestors, and requesting divine guidance. It contains a complex system of lwas, or deities, which include Erzulie, Gede, Damballa, La Sirene, Legba, and many others. The lwas (pronounced loah) act as intermediaries between humans and an overarching god. They make great demands upon the believer, and offer fair rewards.
Roudy Azor, "Ceremoni Nago "
SF-1222, 28"x38,
Lindor Chiler,
VD-65216"x21,"
As objects of ceremony, the Drapo are intended to please and flatter the lwa, with the hope of receiving his/her favor. A traditional drapo represents its lwa in one of two ways: Through Ve-Ves, the lwa's characteristics are synthesized into graphic designs, composed of lines and simple geometric shapes. Through "portrait" Drapo, these traits are personified, often based upon imagery of Catholic saints. Vodou appropriation of this imagery was both a way to fool the Catholic missionaries, and a sincere recognition of traits shared between the saints and their own lwas. A Drapo artist will very often make use of the saint's image as a template for the elaborate beadwork. This unusual remnant of the attempt to Catholocize Haiti is evidence of the tolerant nature, and essentially open structure, of Haitian Vodou.


Lasirene
DV-462, 30"x36," $2,300
Catile,"Ti Jean Petro"
VD-515,29"x30,"$2,300
Over the last ten years, Drapo Vodou as an art-form has taken great strides. Led by Myrlande Constant, a young generation of artists is employing new techniques, and taking on new themes. The drapo of these artists are larger and more elaborate than ever before. They depict Vodou ceremonies, weddings, and other interactions of the lwas, with increasing detail and depth. Some commentators on Haitian art have spoken of the recent emergence of Drapo Vodou as comparable to the spectacular emergence of Haitian painters after the founding of the Centre d'Art in the 1940s. While still used ceremonially, drapo are increasingly popular on the international art market. Today, there are evangelical Christian flags (see Lindor Chiler), secular drapo (Mireille Delice), and even erotic flags (Roudy Azor and Evelyne Alcide).




Odeless,
St. Jacques Majeur
VD-444, 26"x33,"$2.300


School of Marie Baptiste,
VD-604, 22"x26," $900
"Baron"




Josiane Joseph,VD-539,19"x24,"



(VD-681) 24x30
San Paticio $2.300


Christian Dorleus,
SFN-1158C, 53"x60,"

Painted Bottles!

Sequin Spirit Dolls!

If you'd like to learn more about Haitian Vodou and the art forms which celebrate it, the Haitian Art Company recommends the excellent books on this page.

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Haitian Art Company

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Telephone: 305.296.8932 Fax: 305.292.3998
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