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Myrlande Constant

Myrlande Constant was born in Port-au-Prince, ca. 1970. She lives there today with her husband, Charley, a tap-tap owner, and their three children. She is justly considered the most talented and innovative of contemporary drapo vodou artists. Historically, drapo vodou were created for use in Vodou ceremonies. The dazzling imagery served to honor and flatter the spirits, persuading them to assist the struggling serviteurs. Myrlande Constant is chief among a vanguard of younger artists, whose works are produced primarily for the international art market.

La Sirene, 2004
VD-994, 20"x38," $2,500

As a child, Constant learned to sew beads from her mother. From her father, a houngan (Vodou priest), she learned the rich beliefs of Haitian vodou. At 16, she developed her seamstress skills while working in a factory which produced wedding dresses. In 1993, she began to make drapo vodou. Unlike most flag artists, she never apprenticed with anyone; the style and technique she developed were unique.

Grande Aloubha, 2004
VD-995, 23"x27,"

Guede Nibo, 2004
VD-1070, 13"x16,"
When Constant began her artistic career, flags were composed primarily from flat sequins, held in place by a single round bead. This led to flags whose imagery, while striking, was mostly graphic and two-dimensional. Constant's principal innovation was in using the tiny round beads and cylindrical bagettes as the primary material. These smaller units allow her beads to function as pigments, and give the imagery of her drapo a richly textured, painterly feel. Constant's drapo display a beautifully subtle sense of color, and employ a perspective and three-dimensionality previously unknown to the medium of drapo.

Myrlande Constant in Port-au-Prince, ca. 2001

In addition to her stylistic innovations, Constant has dramatically expanded the size of drapo vodou. Some of her newest flags approach 36 square feet! To complete these enormous flags, twelve assistants may help Constant stitch beads for twelve days. Constant herself designs the flags, draws the patterns, and oversees the entire process, working hand in hand with her assistants.

Constant's work is frequently exhibited throughout the United States; all the important collections of contemporary Haitian art contain examples of her work. Her innovations have spawned several other artists working in her style; the best among them are her former apprentices Roudy Azor, Mireille Delice, and Evelyne Alcide.
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Haitian Art Co. is open 10am-6pm (eastern standard time) 7 days a week.
To order call us at (305) 296-8932 or email haitianartcompany@gmail.com .

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