Haitian Metal Art
The Art of Decorative Haitian Steel Drum is a unique forms of cultural artistry. Using metal drums, which were once used for transporting oil or other products purchased near the port in the capitol city of Port au Prince, 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. Now, the real art work begins. Using hammer, chisel and various primitive tools, the shape is cut and the various decorative patterns are pounded into the metal, creating a unique and treasured piece of primitive art. The finished design is signed by the artist and coated with a protective finish.