3. November 2013 18:37
Across the back wall of our store, we have a huge Haitian art display.
Each item is a unique, handcrafted, piece of art imported straight from Haiti.
Using recycled 55-gallon oil drums, the artist first removes both round ends of the drum and places these inside the cylinder along with dried banana or sugar cane leaves. He sets this on fire, to burn off any paint or residue. When cooled down, the artist then cuts the round drum from top to bottom. The flattening process is a sight to behold, as one of the artists’ helpers will climb inside the drum and using all his weight, push with feet, legs, arms and shoulders to open it up. It is then pounded into a flattened "metal canvas" of approximately 3" x 6". With chalk, the design is drawn onto the metal sheet. Using hammer, chisel and various primitive tools, the shape is cut and the various decorative patterns are pounded into the metal. The finished design is signed by the artist and coated with a protective finish.
Haitian steel art began in the early 1950's with a simple blacksmith: Georges Liautaud. In his small shop, he made and repaired tools and created primitive metal crosses for the graves in the Croix-des-Bouquets cemetery. It was at the encouragement of an American teacher, DeWitt Peters, who in 1944 opened the Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, that Georges Liautaud expanded into the creation of decorative metal sculptures. A few talented men apprenticed under him, and this tradition has continued.
History and info courtesy of http://www.haitimetalart.com/