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#4590: Vodou flags raise spirits at art opening (fwd)


Published Wednesday, July 12, 2000, in the Miami Herald 
Vodou flags raise spirits at art opening BY IVETTE M. YEE 

 The spirits surrounded guests and art lovers alike at Tap Tap, a
Haitian restaurant in Miami Beach. Displayed on the yellow and white
walls on second floor of the restaurant at 819 Fifth St., several Lwa
(Vodou spirits) were depicted in shiny colored beads on fabric flags.
They were made by Haitian artist Myrlande Constant and were
 showcased at a reception Tuesday night. As musical group Pilon used
hands and sticks to beat cowhide and goat-skin drums, the spirits seemed
to lift off the walls. The daughter of a Vodou priest, Constant, 32, has
been making the flags for 10 years. They are made with thousands of tiny
beads and reveal observations of Vodou rituals and belief, often
focusing on well-known spirits and saints. One such spirit is Marinet,
whom Constant has further immortalized with black beads for her raven
hair. Brown and red beads come together as a blazing fire. On
 the flag Marinet is jumping out of the flames. ``She is probably one of
the best spirits you can have, but also one of the
 fiercest,'' said Constant. ``She'll bring you good luck and money, but
if you don't appease her, she can destroy you.'' Close to the stairs, on
a royal blue flag, a winged St. Michael is seen casting off
 an evil spirit with a sword. ``These are amazing,'' said Mariela
Lechin, 30, of Hollywood, as she gazed at the artwork. ``I'm taken at
how intricate the designs are.'' Constant said it takes her anywhere
from 17 to 22 days to create each flag. She sketches it, then fills it
in with beads. Gary Sanon-Jules, Tap Tap's general manager, said the
restaurant hosts artists like Constant so others can experience the
beauty of Haiti. ``We really want people to get exposed to what Haitian
culture is all about,'' Sanon-Jules said.