Haiti has been synonymous with Breaking News in the past decade or two and mostly in the context of hurricanes, natural disasters, or political unrest situations. However; similar to most places on our beautiful planet, there are many more stories to be told about Haiti and the resilient Haitian people. One such story is about how the entire community of Croix-des-Bouquets transform discarded metal into works of art.
Metal Art, as Indoor or Outdoor Décor, has a unique place in the world of creativity. In the industrialized economy, metal art is mass produced using the most sophisticated of tools and machinery. Entire factories are dedicated to creating metal works that find their way to homes around the world.
The Haitian Metal Art story, however is unique and has its own twist, no pun intended. Most, if not all Haitian Metal Art is created using discarded steel drums. The most sophisticated tools in use here are bare hands, mallets & chisels and tremendous amounts of creative passion.
Steel drums, primarily used to store and transport oil, paints and other materials often become unusable with time and exposure.
According to the Recycling Coalition of Utah, steel takes up to 100 years to degrade in a landfill. It is no wonder that the creative Haitian people have found a way to repurpose the steel drums into timeless works of art. What a great way to repurpose metal; metal that might otherwise find its way to landfills or the oceans.
The process of cleaning out the steel drums and making them suitable for repurposing, requires some ingenious techniques, as demonstrated by the Haitian people in their use of locally available resources. The base and the lid of the steel drum are removed, only to be placed inside the now hollow drum. Dry leaves from banana trees and or sugarcane, both abundantly available in Haiti, are thrown in and a ceremonious fire is created to essentially vaporize all and any residual oil, paints or other additives. This process may be repeated until all traces are completely removed.
The drum is now let to cool down, upon which, it is cut into one large flat sheet of steel. Artists themselves and sometimes their apprentices climb into the drum, use their body weight and strength to push the drum open. And now the pounding begins, creating a metal canvas that opens up a world of possibilities for the artist.
Haitian artists chalk out their design on the metal canvas and then hammer and chisel away at it, and finish off with a protective coating. These designs are inspired by nature, spirituality and the life and heritage of the Haitian people. No matter the method, message and the material, each of these metal art pieces reflect tremendous passion, craftsmanship and creativity. Most importantly, this little Haitian industry provides dignified and sustainable living for entire communities in Haiti. The sounds of clinks and clanks welcome you on every little street in this community, where incredible Metal Art gets created day after day. Croix des Bouquets is especially known for its sounds – the clanging of mallets and chisels that transform used steel barrels and drums into extraordinary and often times hauntingly beautiful works of art.
It is no wonder that this Metal Art collection is an absolute customer favorite - responsible and beautiful art, perfect as indoor or outdoor decor. Here are some of these artworks (inspirational, and sometimes quirky) available at Snazzy Bazaar. Click on the item or here to view the entire collection.
Oh and did you know? - Haiti is “the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the only nation in the western hemisphere to have defeated three European superpowers (Britain, France and Spain), and the only nation in the world to be established as a result of a successful slave revolution.” (Wikipedia)