Haitian Metal Art – Leaving the Nest


SKU: 1573size: 15"color: Metalcountry: Haiti Categories: , , . Tags: , .

Over 100 Haitian artisans work to create these unique folk art sculptures. They use materials around them in new and inventive ways to create wonderful pieces of art. At the same time they are able to create better lives for themselves and their families through fair trade. By purchasing a handcrafted item, like Haitian Metal Art, you can be absolutely sure that the artist who made it has been paid a living wage. We commend your support of socially aware and environmentally sound trade practices.

The Haitian Metal Art is made from recycled oil drums. The artisans use fire to clean recycled oil drums. Then, they work with hammer and chisel to flatten, cut and shape the metal into the desired designs such as this Nesting Bird Wall Art. It is a true mark of man’s imagination and his resourcefulness in the face of dire economic circumstances.


In the 1950s, DeWitt Peters, a patron of Haitian arts, was intrigued by the iron crosses marking many of the above-ground tombs. Peters discovered the blacksmith who had fashioned the crosses, soon to be renowned Haitian artist Georges Liautaud…and so began Haitian metal art. The original raw material was iron, but with many goods shipped to Haiti in 55-gallon steel oil drums, there was a ready supply of discarded drums for the artisans.

Over the years the number of Haitian metal artists has multiplied via families and mentor / students embracing the craft. The center of Haitian metal arts is the village of Croix-des-Bouquets, where the clang-clang of metal on metal, the hammers banging out the sculptures, provides constant music. The artisans start with designs inspired by nature and culture. From cardboard patterns, they trace their design with chalk on the flattened metal from torn-down oil drums. With chisels and hammers, they carefully cut and decorate the metal by hand. Each piece is shaped and smoothed, then the artists boldly and proudly chisel their name on to the metal sculpture.

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Haitian steel drum sculptures (fer découpé) are fabulous both indoors and out. The most common question is about proper care of the finish. Our metal art pieces have been coated by the artists with a gloss varnish.

OUTDOOR CARE: Pieces displayed in the outdoor elements will generally not remain glossy and over time will take on a flat patina…and they will eventually rust. Rust is not ugly, but will corrode the piece. To deter the corrosion, thoroughly spray it with WD-40® penetrating oil…and do not wipe the spray. You will likely need to reapply once a year.

INDOOR CARE: When a piece becomes scratched or worn, you can apply a light spray of a clear varnish made for metal, in either a gloss or satin finish. You should see the scratches disappear immediately. If you have some rust and you want to remove it, first sand with fine sandpaper and then apply the spray clear enamel.

Enjoy slight variations in size and design as the Haitian Metal Art is hand-crafted. One approximately 15 inch, Haitian Metal ‘Leaving the Nest’ Wall Art.