Haiti's Artisan Roots: Steel drum sculptures
'Noah's Ark' - available at the link below from a trusted company
The Beginning of an Artform
In the 1950s, a Haitian blacksmith by the name of Georges Liautaud spent his long, sultry days banging a chisel with his hammer, making steel crosses for the poor souls buried in Croix-des-Banquets cemetery. At the persistent urging of an American named DeWitt Peters, Liautaud agreed to design intricate and elaborate metal sculptures and the Haitian steel drum art form was born.
Haitian Art is Hand made
The village of Croix-des-Banquets is the birthplace and heart of the Haitian recycled steel drum art culture and walking down any street one can hear the rhythmic sounds of the trade as hammers come into contact with steel chisels. The steel drums arrive daily in the capital port, Port-Au-Prince, and are loaded onto beasts of burden or hand-carts and brought to the artist's shop in Croix-des-Banquet. Oftentimes their home and their shop are one and the same, optimizing the space while eliminating costly overhead associated with maintaining a shop or warehouse.
The art passes from father to son
It has become the custom that a master takes on one to two apprentices and teaches them until they are ready. When the apprentice's work has fully matured, he may branch off and create a name for himself. Today many young men study this honorable trade with the hopes of marrying and raising a family with the skills they have learned.
Haitian steel drum art in Tampa theme park
In recent months and years the Haitian steel drum art movement has been publicized, helping to promote the trade and the artisans who create the work. The Busch Gardens Amusement Park in Tampa, Florida has a special display in place in their cultural souvenir shop to showcase some of the most original and artistic designs. As the world sees more and more of the fascinating steel sculptures demand increases and the art lives on. Even in post-earthquake Haiti, art is alive and thriving, filling people that have no reason to be optimistic, with hope for the future.
Birthplace of the Art
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