Komye Stonecarver’s Collective, Leogane
Komye is a small village of less than 500 people, and many play a role in the functioning and success of this artist collective. To tell someone that they hold their heart in their hand, Ou gen kew nan menw, is way of acknowledging a person’s giving and open spirit. The artists of Komye have taken this expression literally. Amidst the diversity of incredible, one of a kind sculptures, it is the hearts carved in all sizes and colours that the artists offer first to show friends and visitors of the community.
The Earthquake of 2010 shook all of Haiti, and Komye was at the epicenter of this disaster. Although the rural village did not experience much infrastructural damage, Leogane, the main business and trade centre within many miles, was crumbled.
To create a symbol that would inspire and remind everyone of their ability to stay grounded in the face of change, the artists began to carve “Fat-La”, the broad bottomed icon in all her various positions, “She will not fall or crumble if the earth decides to shake again.”
The artists of Croix des Bouquets
Croix-des-Bouquets booms with artisan activity and the sound of hammers and tools resonates from behind almost every home. Used metal drums are used to create these impressive metal sculptures. The metal is re-purposed by cleaning the drum by burning any residues that remain inside. The drum is then opened and flattened and designs are traced onto the flattened metal.
Several artisans will often work on one piece, the most skilled responsible for the fine details. Metal art is made primarily by men, but some women can be seen hammering or painting pieces. Most of the pieces sold through Art of Birth Haiti come from the Darius Shop. The artists, Jaklyne Jerome and Yves Darius, a husband and wife team, are an inspiration and a pillar in their community using their artwork to inspire and support those around them.
Felix Fils, Port-au-Prince
Felix’s work is an extension of traditional vodou flags, elaborate embroidery banners filled with images of Haitian spirits and geometric symbols that includes sequins and beadwork. The small purses and bags he creates are entirely covered with fine beads, each one sewn with attention to create incredible forms, colours and textures. Felix has been creating his pieces for many years alone and in collaboration with other artists. He is no longer able to work as a full time artist however holds his practice close to his heart.
Fleur D’Experience, Jacmel
Fleur d’Experience was established in July 1989 by 14 artisans, with the goal of increasing collaboration among local artisans to promote the artisan trade in Jacmel. The shop is filled with an array of canvases and painted wood-en figurines, placemats, and pen holders. There is a workshop that employs 15 people, including several young people who are just learning the trade. The shop which spills into the street, is a welcoming gathering place for the community and travellers and every inch of space is utilized in showcasing the vibrancy offered up by the many artists involved, from novice to seasoned.
Dufreine Oxanne and Gampson St-Louis, Hinche
Are a mother and son team. Oxanne, a midwife with many years experience attending home births as well as with Midwives for Haiti, Gampson a community activists working to improve the standard of living within his community. Together they make and sell art to help finance their projects. They also recently collaborated with several other organizers in Hinche and internationally to create a community centre and organization. For more information visit: Fonmo USA