Stepping into the Gallery Isidor in Haiti feels like stepping into a dream. The scent of incense flavors the air and the walls are filled with a riot of colorful, imaginative voodoo flags intricately designed by world-famous bead artist and voodoo priest Jean Baptiste Jean Joseph. To be inside Jean Baptiste’s studio and to see his work, gives one a true sense of Haiti’s rich, intricate culture and religion.
Jean Baptiste Jean Joseph was born in 1967 in La Vallé Bainet and was raised in Croix-des-Bouquet, a community known for its metal artisans in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At a young age Jean Baptiste became passionate for folk art and textiles. Following his dreams and passion for beadwork, he worked in a small factory where he honed his skills by sewing pearls and beads onto wedding dresses. Then in 1991, thanks to the receipt of a small loan from a friend, Jean Baptiste opened Isidor Gallery in Croix-des-Bouquet.
Fast forward two decades, and Jean Baptiste’s beadwork is world renown. Besides his famous voodoo flags, Jean Baptiste and his fellow artisans make purses, bags, voodoo dolls, and various other handicrafts. Like his fellow master artisans in Croix-des-Bouquets, Jean Baptiste has been instrumental in training new artisans in his field, helping the community prosper and ensuring this beautiful form of art does not die out.