Mermaid Voodoo Flag

Mermaid Voodoo Flag

Retail Price: $529.00
Vodou flags (also called drapos or banners) are traditionally used to decorate the site where a ceremony is held. They are also draped across the backs of ceremony participants so that, as they dance, the shimmer produced by the glittering beads, sequins, and seed pearls will attract a particular lwa or spirit (also spelled loa). Traditionally, the elaborate embroidery of Vodou flags is done by Vodou priests (ougans) or priestesses (mambos). However, as these dazzling wall-hangings made the transition from religious ritual works to a highly prized and collectible artform, many artists — both practicing and non-practicing — have come to create flags for the art market. Flags typically feature the physical representation or vévé (symbol) that represents an individual lwa.

The mermaid (or la sirèn) is most often associated with the goddess Ezili or Erzuli, who takes on several different identities. Sometimes she is Ezili Freda, who can be seen as a beautiful and engaging young woman. She has other incarnations where she is called by other names; then she can be hideous and destructive, even dangerous. Ezili also frequently takes the shape of a mermaid, who either protects fishermen, swimmers, boaters, and others on the water, or else causes them to drown.

Size: 23.5" x 34"

ID#: HAIT9914


George Valris

from Haiti

Working in turn as a basketmaker, a laborer in a clothing factory, and a
stevedore on a cruise ship, George Valris found his niche in 1988 when a
friend showed him how to sew sequins on flags. He sold his first Voodoo
flag to Galerie Marassa and that taste of success emboldened him to set
up his own shop in Port-au-Prince.

Today, George is widely acclaimed as one of the top craftsman of his
trade. In particular, he is noted for the painterly quality of his sequin
work. Incredibly, the average flag consists of between 18,000 and 20,000
sequins, each applied by hand, and taking about 10 days to complete.

Voodoo flags are traditionally used for display in sanctuaries or in
processionals, and are almost always made by Voodoo priests. Though George
is a devout Catholic and does not practice Voodoo, he sees no conflict
there. Nor would most of his countrymen. According to an article published
by the U.S. Library of Congress, “Voodoo is based on a domestic cult of
family spirits, and is indeed not entirely separate from Roman
Catholicism, Haiti’s official religion.” Rather, the two exist side by
side in Haiti, each enhancing and enriching the other.

Some of George’s finest flags are displayed in museums, such as The Fowler
at UCLA, and The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Moreover, he
has been invited to participate as a guest artist at the International
Folk Art Market in Santa Fe consistently since 2006. Knowledgeable
collectors pursue his pieces with the assurance of their lasting beauty
and value.