The present work is an excellent example of the flags and banners of Haitian Voodoo practice. It is constructed of cloth with hand-stitched glass beads and sequins, representing Danbala (also Damballa and Damballah, spelled on the flag "DAMBALAH").
In Voodoo practice, Danbala Wedo, along with his wife Ayida Wedo, are representative of birth and creation. They are in essence the divine mother and father of the universe. In the iconography, they are usually depicted together as two serpents, or sometimes as a serpent and a rainbow. Danbala is an especially popular deity and is often represented alone as St. Patrick or Moses, as both of these Christian figures performed miracles associated with snakes. This vévé shows the typical image of two snakes intertwined on a pole, accompanied by two flags.
The imagery of Haitian Voodoo culture is derived from multiple sources, and the culture seems to have the ability to integrate the various sources from popular culture to catholic imagery into traditional African symbols, values and rituals. Flags like this one are meant to honor or invoke gods, as well as depicting their likenesses or attributes using dazzling displays of color. The relatively young age of this example shows the power and influence the imagery continues to have in Haiti to this day.
11 x 13.5 inches, artwork
19 x 21.5 inches, frame
Framed to conservation standards in a shadow-box using 100 percent rag matting lined in silk and museum glass within a gold gilt frame.
Polk, Patrick Arthur. Haitian Vodou Flags. University Press of Mississippi, 1997, p. 13.