Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti

A Visit to Meet the Metal Artisans in Croix-des-Bouquets

No trip to Haiti is complete without a visit to Croix-des-Bouquets. Croix-des-Bouquets is a unique artist community on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince that has grown into one of the largest, sustainable metal art communities in Haiti. It all began in the 1950s by a local blacksmith named Georges Liautaud who began using recycled oil drums to create amazing freestanding sculptures of art known as “fer découpé”. Liautaud mentored and inspired many metal artisans within the growing community of Croix-des-Bouquets and although he passed away in 1992, his most celebrated apprentice Serge Jolimeau continues to be a moving force within the community. Known as the godfather of Croix-des-Bouquets, Jolimeau opened up his land to the artisans so they have a place to work for free and learn the trade through apprenticeships.

Today, Croix-des-Bouquets has over 1,000 metal artisans with over 60 different shops and studios creating social change and opportunity within the community. It is a magical, happy place filled with energy and life. Although Jolimeau travels the world with his art, he continues to reside in Croix-des-Bouquets where he supposedly never even bothers to lock his door. It is that kind of close-knit community; a sharp contrast to some of the neighboring slums.

Croix-des-Bouquets is located on the edge of Port-au-Prince in the district of Noailles. You can tell you have arrived in the right place by the non-stop clanking of the hammers on metal. Beautiful handmade metal signs hang outside each workshop and the entire place is alive with the sounds of creativity. I felt like a kid in a candy shop looking at row after row of artwork with each piece being more spectacular than the last. My camera in hand and notebook ready, we began our tour of Croix-des-Bouquets and I was thankful it was not my first visit. Taking it all in for the first time can be quite overwhelming.

Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti

Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti

CULTURE Haiti TRAVEL BY REGION
Jacques Eugene Croix des Bouquet Haiti

Haiti’s Metal Artisans of Croix-des-Bouquets

This post is part of a series on my recent trip to Haiti as part of Heart of Haiti’s #Bloggers4Haiti trip. To read more in this series, click here. 

After we landed in Port-au-Prince on a Thursday afternoon, our team of three bloggers, one daughter, and three representatives from Everywhere Agency (who sponsored our trip and works exclusively on the Heart of Haiti initiative for Macy’s) gathered in our van and drove to neighboring Croix-des-Bouquets,a famous artist community in Port-au-Prince known for its metal art.

We were thrilled to all be spending the next four days meeting with Macy’s Heart of Haiti artisans, and there couldn’t have been a better way to jump-start our trip than by visiting Croix-des-Bouquets and seeing for ourselves what Haiti is known for: Spectacular metal art.

In Croix-des-Bouquets, we were going to visit several metal artisans’ studios and get a real live demonstration on how the art is made. We also would learn a bit more about the history of Croix-des-Bouquets, a unique artist community that has grown into one of the largest, sustainable metal art communities in Haiti.

Croix-des-Bouquet

En route from Port-au-Prince we finally reach the famous Croix-des-Bouquets community.

Over 60 years ago, Georges Liautaud began a movement in creating metal art from recycled products that became the thriving metal artisan community of Croix-des-Bouquets. Today, Croix-des-Bouquets has over 1,000 metal artisans making their fabulous metal art with over 60 different shops and studios creating social change and opportunity in this growing community in Port-au-Prince. Croix-des-Bouquets is where the most famous, accomplished metal artisans reside who have traveled the world with their art and have become instrumental within the community by creating apprenticeship opportunities for Haitians to learn their trade.

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