Artist Profile- Meda Ulysse
Whether born into one of the artisan families of Croix-des-Bouquets, or drawn from the Haitian countryside by the prospect of education and work, It's Cactus 80-plus sculptors know that their futures are secured by art, tradition, and fair trade. Beginning in the 1950s with Georges Liataud, the former railway blacksmith turned folk art pioneer, creativity and innovation have gone hand in hand with teaching and sharing. Liataud, observing the surplus of steel drums in his village, saw opportunity and resources. He cut the metal barrels, using only a hammer and a chisel, and began fashioning simple crosses to mark gravestones in the local cemetery. His work attracted the attention of DeWitt Peters, founder of the Center d’Art in Port-au-Prince, who brought him into the Center and encouraged him to explore his craft. Taking that advice, Liataud expanded his repertoire and began depicting cultural as well as religious images. Additionally, he experimented with dimensionality and form. Equally important, he began to share his knowledge, taking on Gabriel Bien-Aime and the Louisjuste brothers as apprentices. And those men, now regarded as great masters in their own right, taught the next generation, who in turn taught the next. So it is today, with several Beyond Borders artists having trained with these early master sculptors, now opening their own workshops, and sharing their techniques with the young and eager. As one artist put it, “I teach people how to work. When I hire them, I help them to earn a life.”
Casey Riddell, founder of It's Cactus takes the artists through the next steps. By collaborating with them on design creation, placing orders, paying fair wages, and taking Haitian metal sculptures to the global market, great strides are made in helping the craftsmen of Croix-des-Bouquets help themselves. Guided by cultural respect and conscientious business practice, It's Cactus and its Haitian partner artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.
Fair trade isn't just a good idea - its the way we do business.
We offer a hand up, not a hand out to our artist partners in Haiti. Each sale of their metal sculptures represents a positive step toward a better life.
The center of Haitian metal sculpture is the village of Croix-des-Bouquets, where the clanging sound of hammers striking chisels is a constant music. To begin, the artist chalks his design onto the metal. Chisels, dies and a large hammer are used to cut and shape the piece, giving it form and texture. When the highly intricate and physically demanding work is complete and the artist is satisfied with his work, he signs his name boldly with a small chisel and applies a clear, weather-proof coating. The result is a wonderful, fair trade piece of handcrafted art.
This metal sculpture is meant for display indoors or out, but if you choose to display yours outside, be aware that the protective, weather-proof coating will wear off over time. To keep your sculpture looking just like it did the day you bought it, take five minutes once a year to apply a spray-on clear enamel coating.
A few nails and a hammer are all you'll need to hang your sculpture. Look for a place where the design is joined or notched and put the first nail there. Use a second and possibly a third nail, if the piece is large, in other joined or notched design elements within the sculpture to straighten and secure it to the wall. The nails will "disappear" with the piece. Simple as that.
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Just contact me within: 14 days of delivery
Ship items back to me within: 30 days of delivery
But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.
Because of the nature of these items, unless they arrive damaged or defective, I can't accept returns for:
Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.