Vodou Flags

Drapo Vodou is an art-form unique from Haiti. Constructed of sequins and beads hand-sew into fabrics, these “flags” bring to life the dynamic iconography of Haitian Vodou. A fusion of African religious beliefs, Vodou evolved in Haiti trough 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.

Pulp novels and Hollywood ventures of the 19
th and 20th centuries have villainized “Voodoo” 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 Iwas or deities, which include Erzulie, Gede, Damballa, La Sirene, Legba, and many others. The Iwas (pronounced loah) act as intermediaries between humans and an overarching god. They make demands upon the believer, and offer fair rewards.

As objects of ceremony, the Drapo are intended to please and flatter the Iwa, with the hope of receiving his/her favor. A traditional drapo represents its Iwa in one of two ways: Through Ve-Ves, the Iwa’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 saint’s image as a template for the elaborate beadwork. This unusual remnant of the attempt, to Catholicize Haiti is evidence of the tolerant nature, and essentially open structure, of Haitian Vodou.
  • VF1

    15 1/4" x 20"

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  • VF2

    17 3/8" x 17 3/8"

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  • VF3

    20 1/4" X 24 1/4"

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  • VF4

    21 1/4" x 15 3/4"

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  • VF5

    21 1/4" x 16"

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  • VF6

    20 3/8" x 16 3/8"

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  • VF7

    21" x 16"

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  • VF8

    21" X 16.5"

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  • VF9

    20 1/2" x 15 3/4"

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  • VF10

    24" X 16"

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  • VF11

    21.5" x 16.5"

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  • VF12

    20.5" x 16.5"

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  • VF13

    21" x 16 1/4"

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  • VF14

    24" X 16"

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  • VF15

    21 3/8" x 16"

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  • VF16

    14 5/8" x 15 3/4"

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  • VF17

    20 3/4" x 16 3/4"

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  • VF18

    16 3/4" x 16 3/4"

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  • VF19

    22" x 16 3/8"

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  • VF20

    21" x 15 3/4"

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  • VF21

    17.5" x 17.5"

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  • VF22

    21" x 17"

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  • VF23

    11.5" x 11.5"

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