Haiti is renowned for its "metal decoupe" or metal cut-out art. On Saturday we joined an organized trip to a village on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince where the majority of the metal is worked. Artisans take steel barrels that have been used to ship and store any variety of products, clean them, flatten them, and turn them into often delightful three-dimensional sculptures.
The neighborhood didn't look like much. This is, in fact, a very dangerous part of town, and we were only able to go because it was an escorted trip with extra security.
Inside and around the workshops, young men were sanding, scrubbing, carving, punching -- generally working with the flattened steel drums to make them into works of art!
In addition to working the metal, artists draw the designs they will cut from the metal.
The results range from lovely to ludicrous, pedestrian to macabre. It was a great treat to see the workshops because vendors very often bring only what they think people will buy to art fairs and galleries. Seeing the broad selection was truly an experience!
Obviously we couldn't walk away empty-handed.... Ian fell in love with a great big mask with wild stand-up hair, and he got another one with copper and brass colors worked into the steel.
Finally that great, empty beige wall will have some life!