About the Artist
Born in 1967, Jean-Baptiste Jean Joseph is from La Vallé Bainet in the southern part of Haiti. Involved in Haiti's folk art movement from an early age, he learned to weave baskets and also took jobs in factories applying beads and pearls to wedding dresses. In 1991, he decided to start his own business with a small loan from a friend. He created his first Vodou flag, stitching everything by hand and promptly selling it for $450.
From the beginning, he had a unique style, which he says came to him in a revelation. Rather than fill a flag completely with beads and sequins, he likes to create contrast by leaving the background sparse while filling the center image thick with a variety of new-style beads.
He started out by selling his flags to the Museum of Haitian Art gift shop in Port-au-Prince, and went on to exhibit his work in some of the Island's finest art galleries. Today, he uses a sewing machine and employs several artisans to make his creations, which can take 2 to 6 weeks to complete. His flags have been exhibited in galleries in Haiti, New York, Miami, California, and Australia and will be the subject of a one-man show later this year in Paris.