Raoul- Haitian Sequined and Beaded Voodoo Flag on Satin, 2016 "Aïzan's VèVè" #1MFN 27"x 27"
This is a Haitian vodoo flag individually sewn by hand in thousand of glimmering sequins and beads on satin. It is a 27"x27" banner that depicts a Aïzan's vèvè in vodoo loa. It is an exquisite banner in the details and looks like an actual ceremonial flag, there seems to be very little artistic license, the artist adhered very strictly to the rules and included all the details associated with Aïzan's Vèvès.
Its shimmering and glistening beauty is not quite captured by the picture.
A "drapo" Vodou is a handmade flag, typically embroidered and decorated with beads and sequins. Although flags may have been made in West Africa before the arrival of Europeans, the flags widely used there by 1600 were derived from European flags. They were used as symbols of ethnic, military or religious allegiance. The drapo Vodou also drew on Yoruba beadwork, Catholic vestments and Masonic aprons. In the 19th century and early 20th century most drapo Vodou were made from one or two colored fabric pieces decorated with embroidery, metal bangles and glass beads, with an image of the lwa made of shiny fabrics appliquéd to the cloth using techniques still followed in West Africa. Flags and banners used in the 21st century in rural areas often still have stylistically simple designs, in part due to the high cost of decorative material. With the older flags the background field that frames the image was usually decorated with widely spaced sequins or beads. Modern flag makers often completely cover the fabric of the field with sparkling sequins of one color, or with intricate geometrical patterns. Borders, which were either simple or did not exist on early drapo Vodou, have evolved into highly elaborate patterns. Nowadays, ateliers are dedicated to this art craft have opened creating a vibrant market for the flags. Thousands of glimmering sequins are individually sewn by hand making this a tedious and fine task.
She is a racine, or root Loa, associated with Vodoun rites of initiation (called kanzo). Just as her husband Loco is the archetypal Houngan (priest), Ayizan is regarded as the first, or archetypal Mambo (priestess), and as such is also associated with priestly knowledge and mysteries, particularly those of initiation, and the natural world.
As the spiritual parents of the priesthood she and her husband are two of the Loa involved in the kanzo rites in which the Priest/ess-to-be is given the asson (sacred rattle and tool of the priesthood), and are both powerful guardians of "reglemen," or the correct and appropriate form of Vodoun service.