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On Biographies Of Haitian Metal Art Artisans

Wonderful Wall Art Created From Recycled Oil Drums

Many thanks to Beyond Borders, which allowed us to use much information from their own pages as the basis for these biographies.


Alainne Etienne


Thirty-one year old Alainne Etienne has his uncle to thank for getting him into metal art. Serving as his apprentice for five years, Alainne learned the trade well. It was, and continues to be a skill on which his family depends. “My father was a farmer, but he has been dead since Oct. 2006. He spent his entire life working the land. My mother sells bread. She used to go to market every day. But I have 12 people in my family. My parents tried to elevate our field of education, but none of us had no chance to finish with our classical education. My wife and mother and daughters now survive because of this profession of art.”
Alainne has been working in metal sculpture for over 15 years and now runs his own workshop. Butterflies float and flowers burst forth from his designs. Picture frames and mirrors are his current specialty, though he is constantly experimenting with form. He has shown his works in exhibitions and from that exposure, has developed a healthy clientele. Despite losing his house in the 2010 earthquake, his dreams survive and continue to flourish. “I see to reach the highest peak. I remember the power so confident, and it inspires me.”


Aurelien Romaire


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Bernard Excellent


Born his parents’ home in Croix-des-Bouquets in 1984, Jean Bernard Excellent, an earnest and somewhat solemn young man left his formal education and dreams of becoming a lawyer at the schoolhouse steps and took up the hammer and chisel at the age of 14. Having 9 mouths to feed and a dying husband, it became obvious to his mother and to Bernard that the family needed more income than her wages as a saleswoman could provide. With that realization, an artist was created.

“My father was an artist. I started watching him when I was young. He showed me how to do it,” he explains in halting English. “My first job was cutting with Yonel Brutus, Winston Cajuste, and Nicolson Mathieu. Now I work with Evenson Thenor. They help me get contacts and manage my tools,” says Bernard. He continues, “I like the work of (second generation master) Serge Jolimeau. I work on his style. But my designs are special. I love them. They come from my mind and my soul.” His inspirations spring from, “nature and sometimes angels.” Clearly, his sense of humor finds form as well, as evidenced in his sun-faced designs with angels, mermaids, or boys at play. Each one is meticulously crafted, with intricate beading and texture executed throughout each piece. Bernard takes great pride in his work and sees it’s potential. “I love this art. I want to be a well-known artist, have my big own shop, and help other people in my zone.

Brutal Michael


Brutal Michel, son of Cecile Casseus and Brutal Saint-Clearly, is the eldest in a family of ten children. He blesses the work that enables him to send his two younger brothers and his own daughter to school. Though he seems to carry his burdens with joy, he says frankly, “This trade is very important for me. My family was completely poor and is thanks to this trade that I manage to support on my shoulders the loads of my family in general.”
Beginning with “the business of irons cut out” in 1987, Brutal is grateful for the teachings of others, but regrets never having had the opportunity to study directly under Serge Jolimeau and Gabriel Bon Amie. His admiration for their work is unmistakable, however, as the theme of La Sirene and the dimensionality of his bird figures attest.
Now running his own workshop, he takes his inspiration from, “Nature like trees and that by the sea, such as mermaids, the tortoise, fish, and so much other.” As did many of his countrymen, he felt acutely the horrors of the January 2010 earthquake that, “devastated our beloved Haiti.” But with a confounding graciousness in the face of staggering hardship, he recognizes the favors that he has received in his life and seeks to return them in kind.

Brutus Jean Sylvionel


“It wasn’t my goal to be an artist as I am today. I wanted to be an engineer or a doctor,” Brutus Jean Sylvionel discloses honestly. “But my mother died in 1989 when I was 4 years old. By the time I was 8, my family didn’t have enough money to survive. My father taught me the iron cut.” In time, he left his father’s shop to apprentice with Jean Claude Soulouque and Nicolson Mathieu. “They pay me for my working, teach me how to manage the tools and they push me up to never fall down.”

When his father died in 2009, Brutus Jean was left to support his 5 brothers and four sisters. He is able to do that, “with God’s help. God gives me inspirations that I discover in the sea and in the sky.” His dreams are heartfelt, “I just want to take care of my family as I am supposed to, and help other people who can’t grow up in this art.”

BRUTUS SAMUEL


Brutus Winston


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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

BUISSON YVES ROBERT


Caleb Belony


At 21, Caleb Belony has great ambitions for his art. He was introduced to metal sculpture by his uncle at the age of 12 and from the first moment that his hands gripped the hammer and chisel, he was moved to create. Now, with his own workshop and apprentices, he thinks constantly about new designs. "Even though I have not been to different countries, I think it would be good to go there and help my thinking. It is good to increase my point of view. I have many students and it helps in my teaching too. I go to the main cities of Haiti for new imagination." His latest works include a series of butterfly designs. "It is a symbolic work of new creation." New creation is a particularly poignant idea for Caleb, who was nearly killed in the 2010 earthquake. Dispossessed by the destruction of his home and workshop, he has had to recreate much of his life. He reflects thoughtfully, "I can see that I myself, my country of Haiti, and also the world has to have a new way to think."

Charles Luthene




Never stepping back from a new challenge or a new opportunity, Charles Luthene left his family home in a remote village of western Haiti to pursue his education. In so doing however, it was also necessary for him to cultivate a means of supporting himself. Luckily, he found it in the workshop of Joseph Libernier, where he began to learn the art of metal sculpture. From there, he became acquainted with Joseph Peterson, and two years later, in 2008, Peterson invited Charles to become an apprentice in his shop. Still, Charles yearned to have a shop of his own. With his skills honed and his confidence up, he opened his “Sunflower” workshop in 2009.

He says, “Now I am a known artist, I look for much more of work because I have the capacity to do that. I can prepare pieces in any manner you want.” His sun and moon designs are well-crafted and exude joy. Other pieces convey a sense of whimsy, yet all are executed with care and precision. Clearly, Charles’ time to shine as an artist has arrived.

Cheribain Jean Yourdly


In the busy shop of Cheriban Jean Yourdly, the clanging and banging of hammer and chisel against steel rings incessantly. Six of his friends, themselves budding artists, work hard with him to precisely execute his ever-expanding repertoire of designs. He says, “I listen to music and sometimes a new idea comes to me. At night sometimes too. I get up and draw my design when it is fresh in my thoughts.”

Cheriban has been working in metal sculpture since 2000, when he began as an apprentice with Julio Balan. Though he is not married and has no children, he comes from a large family and works to support his mother, father and 8 brothers and sisters. In fact, many of his sculptures depict mothers and daughters, or sisters singing and playing music together. The closeness of his family is clearly in evidence in his art.

Cineus Louime


A love of nature, especially birds and trees, is readily apparent in the work of Cineus Louime. The 37-year-old artist says that fascinated appreciation has been with him since childhood. His birds and trees of life are executed with great care, conveying a certain liveliness and sense of movement. He was born in Thomazeau in May of 1975, but arrived in Croix-des-Bouquets at the age of five to begin school. It was there, in the village that he was first introduced to metal sculpture. After completing his formal education, he apprenticed with Hubert Bernard as a laborer. In time, he began making his own drawings and with earnings from his work with Bernard, was eventually able to open his own shop. He says, “I did not have enough money to build a huge shop, but measure by measure, I make improvements. I have some workers with me and we work hard every day.”

Cineus is quick to give credit to his family. “My father taught me how to be a man because he did not have enough money to give me. As for my mother, she is the most wonderful mom that someone can have. She kept telling me that to succeed in life one must work hard and do what you have to do.” His wife helps out at home and, “looks after me and the children.”

A man of quiet bearing and a slow, casual smile, his easy manner belies his great pride in his work and dedication to his family. He says, “With the help of God and my friends, I bring support to the members of my family. My passion is to see my art grow day by day. My dream is to succeed in all activities I undertake in my life as an artist and as a person.”

Claudy Soulouque



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Daniel Duval


Daniel Duval likes to depict the simple life of rural Haiti in his works. It gives him delighted satisfaction to cut the design of a farmer pushing his cart full of chickens with his lips pursed into a whistle. In another recent piece, a small boy rides on the back of his father’s bicycle, coming home from market with a fat, delicious pineapple in his small arms. Clearly, his countrymen are his inspiration.

When asked what he likes most about his work, Daniel responds, “When I have a design in my head and I can cut it into the metal, that’s what I enjoy. I like to imagine people at an exhibition, seeing my pieces on display. My biggest dream is to go to the United States and exhibit my sculptures there.”

It is critical for his work to get exposure beyond the environs of Croix- des-Bouquet and to sell it on the global market. According to Daniel, there had previously been tourists who would come and buy, but they have been non-existent since the 2010 earthquake. He laments, “My family survived the earthquake okay, but now we suffer because no one comes to Haiti. The tourists left and they did not come back. Things have not improved very much since then. Life is quite hard.”

At least it is not without its pleasures. He talks animatedly about his work and his hopes for the future. His biggest smiles, though, are reserved for his three children. “I don’t just want to live to work. I like to have fun with my children on the weekends. We go to the beach. That is always a good time.”

DAVIDSON THENOR

Desrosiers J P Richard


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Edouard Dieudonne


Angels and mermaids are figures of mystical fascination for Edward Dieudonne. He sits quietly alone, listening to music when their images come to him, and with a small piece of chalk and a sheet of flat metal, he begins to give them form. These dawnings of inspiration are, for Edward, the very best part of the creative process.

Though he imagines his sculptural pieces in reflective solitude, they are often executed with a great deal of amusement. One can almost hear him chuckling out loud as he takes up the hammer and chisel and pounds out an angel with a shopping bag or a mermaid having a deeply meaningful conversation with a seahorse. His animal sculptures too, must bring a wry smile. Who knows where the notion of putting the barnyard critters on the bus in a blowing gale came from. Maybe it’s Edward’s idea of riding the storm out!

Edward came from a large family, and now has 8 children of his own. He spends long days cutting metal in his workshop to provide for them. Additionally, he teaches friends and family members the craft so that they too, might carry on and prosper. He says, “I just want to do everything I can for my family and my children. That is my dream.”

Eugene Jacques


Eugene Jacques is an inspired metal artist who has trained under all of the masters of steel craft in Croix-des-Bouquets. Anyone who has taken the time to familiarize themselves with the work of the top artists of the village can plainly see how Eugene has incorporated their techniques and influence into truly unique styles that are illustrative of his talent and an homage to those who taught him. Eugene produces many one of a kind pieces, each with their own story. Whether it is a family of spirits he has replicated in steel or a celebration of the beauty in a woman’s heart, Eugene infuses his pieces with personality and daring vision.

Evenson Thenor


“I received the money you sent me and on behalf of all the artists who have received, we are very grateful. We are glad to work for you. We do everything in our power to give you more brilliant work.” So writes Evenson Thenor in response to receiving earthquake relief funds from Beyond Borders.

Evenson performed a long series of apprenticeships with such prominent Croix-des-Bouquets sculptors as Claude Soulouque, Jonas Balan, and Herbert Bernard before opening his own shop called, “Corbel” at the age of twenty.
The earthquake destroyed his shop, his home, and the home of his parents, and though none of his loved ones were lost, the setback has been tremendous. “Now I am supporting my parents and we are all are forced to regroup, surviving on the money that I can make.”

Still, his spirit is indomitable. He smiles as he says, “Inspiration runs in my veins, giving much pleasure to me.” Though the themes of his sculptures run a wide gamut, from schools of fish to giraffes dancing in the forest to the vibe of a rara band, he claims that his favorite images are of, “angels, mermaids, and trees.” In rebuilding his home and re-establishing security for his family, Thenor affirms, “We will never be discouraged. We will never give up.”

Exulien Exuma



“I went to school to learn design. I have this knowledge. But I left school and I wanted to deepen my knowledge in metal sculpture in order to make a living.” Thus begins the story of the artistic life of Exulien Exuma. He got his start in metal sculpture under the tutelage of Gary Pierre, but soon began creating his own images. Exulien often works in three-dimensions, giving those pieces the extra suggestions of sound and movement. His angels, for instance, have drums, horns and guitars in relief. Indeed, sound is very much a part of his creative process. When he describes his inspiration for his angels, he says, “They come from the heavens to my ears and then to my hands and then to the metal I pound. That's what makes them special."

Fritz Calixte


His fingers taped with small bandages, Felix Calixte sits beside the yellow wall of the artists co-op, gently pounding a piece of metal that he holds steady with his feet.

He grew up in the slums in Port-au-Prince and says that before he became an artist he was in school only when his parents could afford it.

He likely would have grown up poor and in a gang, he says. But he happened to see the metal artists at one point and began the long apprenticeship of learning how to seek out the best drums and mould the steel sheets.

The metal called him, he says. And his life was changed.

George Valris


Working in turn as a basketmaker, a laborer in a clothing factory, and a stevedore on a cruise ship, George Valris found his niche in 1988 when a friend showed him how to sew sequins on flags. He sold his first Voodoo flag to Galerie Marassa and that taste of success emboldened him to set up his own shop in Port-au-Prince.

Today, George is widely acclaimed as one of the top craftsman of his trade. In particular, he is noted for the painterly quality of his sequin work. Incredibly, the average flag consists of between 18,000 and 20,000 sequins, each applied by hand, and taking about 10 days to complete.

Voodoo flags are traditionally used for display in sanctuaries or in processionals, and are almost always made by Voodoo priests. Though George is a devout Catholic and does not practice Voodoo, he sees no conflict there. Nor would most of his countrymen. According to an article published by the U.S. Library of Congress, “Voodoo is based on a domestic cult of family spirits, and is indeed not entirely separate from Roman Catholicism, Haiti’s official religion.” Rather, the two exist side by side in Haiti, each enhancing and enriching the other.

Some of George’s finest flags are displayed in museums, such as The Fowler at UCLA, and The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Moreover, he has been invited to participate as a guest artist at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe consistently since 2006. Knowledgeable collectors pursue his pieces with the assurance of their lasting beauty
and value.

Gerald Bernado



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Gerald Gonzalez Jr.


When asked to describe himself, Gerald Gonzalez Jr. responds, “I am someone very nice, sensible and respectable. I have an objective to do art.” In manner and in speech, he is completely straightforward, yet his sun face designs are fanciful, full of movement and almost Baroque in style. Art of a very playful nature, from a man of serious visage.

Gerald was born in March of 1988, the second of five children. He pursued his education in banking, but found his passion lay in metal sculpture. At the age of 23, he sees art as his path to the future. He says, “From the bottom of my heart, I wish for my designs to be seen and appreciated. It is for me a great honor and a joy to do this work.”

GUERLANDE BALAN


Guerlande Balan has broken time-honored tradition in Haitian metal sculpting, simply by being female. In a field dominated entirely by men, female sculptors are making headway and Guerlande is leading the charge. Born in 1985, she began to help out in the shop of her famous brother Julio at the age of 10. Like “the boys,” her first jobs were to burn out the barrels, sand the metal, and pound it flat. Julio saw that his little sister not only had desire to learn, she had an eye for style and hands eager to execute. With his encouragement, she began creating her own designs. Guerlande admits, though, that no matter how intense her passion for art is, or how deep her talent runs, her greatest creation by far, and the one that gives her enduring pride is her daughter, Ashley Jean Francois.

Guy Duval



Folk art, by one definition, is described as, “that which represents a mixture of vernacular aesthetics, popular demand, historical fascination, memory, sentiment and patriotism.” Guy Duval is one such young artist with great confidence and talent. And why not? He apprenticed under one of the current great folk art masters of metal sculpture, Hubert Bernard. His relationship with Bernard goes beyond the artistic and into the spiritual realm, as Bernard is his pastor as well. Guy is currently working on large fish designs, fish being important to his island country as a food source, a symbol of the sea in Voodoo culture, and additionally as a Christian icon.

In a recent letter to Casey Riddell of Beyond Borders, Guy wrote, “I take this moment extraordinary to introduce to you my model of fish. I think you and your friends are going to like it very much. Madame, I am young, but I have a lot of experience at this work. God bless you and your shop!"

Hubert Bernard



Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Jean Carlo Brutus


Carlo Brutus has a keen sense of history and of his own artistic roots. The primitive style of his work reflects his reverence for Georges Liataud, who Carlo readily admits, “is an important man in my memory.” He apprenticed with Gary Darius and his older brother, Jean Closter Brutus, but in 1994, opened his own workshop in order to, “produce my own works in my own style.” Jean Carlo's designs are influenced by the natural world, as seen in his birds on the wing and trees swaying in the wind. He is also influenced by the mythical realm of mermaids and magical beasts, while his elegant candle plates can be used in traditional Haitian candle ceremonies. He professes his love for the work, but realizes that it is not only his passion, it is his security. Jean Carlo says, “I love the metal sculpture and I appreciate the orders that I get so that we can have a better life.”

Jean Claude Soulouque


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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Jean David Remy


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

JEAN EDDY EUGENE


Jean Fleurico Delpe



Jean Fleurico Delpe knows that good design is the thing. Having created three of Beyond Borders top-selling pieces, he takes design seriously. By his own admission, he says, “When I was in school, I used to make designs for my classmates. But to get ahead in metal sculpture, you have to know how to do that yourself.”

Born in 1979, Jean Fleurico claims he “grew up in a metal sculpture workshop.” His cousin, Jose Delpe was a designer that he looked up to from an early age, but it was Hubert Bernard that gave him his start. Keeping up with his formal education, his grandmother raised him and gave him money to cover the school fees. However, after graduation, it was metal sculpture that drew him and defined his profession. Today, Jean Fleurico supports his extended family. “Now I can make money. I keep doing this for all my life because I fill my need with this work.”

Jean Garnier



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.


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Jean Marcule Omiscar



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Jean Marie Soulouque


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Jean Paul Charles


Jean Paul Charles was born in 1979 in Croix-des-Bouquets. At the age of 10, he began to learn the craft of “coupe de fer” or cutting iron. Beginning as a laborer, cleaning and pounding the metal flat for the experienced artists to take over, he worked in various ateliers, including that of the Balan brothers, John Sylvestre, Gary Darius, Gabriel Bien-Amie and Serge Jolimeau. By the time he turned 18, he had advanced to design work and by the age of twenty, he opened his own studio. Entrepreneurship is something of which he is very proud, and rightfully so. In a poor country where unemployment runs at a horrifying rate of forty per cent, Jean Paul employs 12 people in his studio, many of whom will get their own start in business through his guidance and teaching.

Travelling to show his work is a dream that he pursues with passion. He has not yet travelled abroad, but enjoys participating in exhibitions in and around Port-au-Prince. To share his art with the world is his broad vision, brought closer one hammer-blow, one stroke of sandpaper, and one chisel-cut at a time.

Jean Ronald Brutas


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

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Jean Rony



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Johnson Augustin


Born in December, 1971, Johnson Augustin attended primary school but confesses, “It was hard for me to learn.” Shifting focus, he went to work with master metal sculptor, Serge Jolimeau. Before long, he moved to his own shop, where the art became a family affair. Though the metal work is performed almost exclusively by men, Johonson is an “equal opportunity employer.” His sisters have gotten into the act, sanding and varnishing the unfinished pieces.

Johnson recalls with pride the day the Ambassador of Chile came into his shop. “The ambassador saw my works are nice and he invited me to attend a fair at the University of Chile in 2004. I went back in 2005 for the same reason. There were 32 countries to attend the fair and Haiti won the first prize through me.”

As so many, Johnson is grateful for the work that Beyond Borders provides for him and well remembers the money distributed to artists throughout Croix-des-Bouquets in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. “It was very help me. I am very happy and I ask God to bless you. Now when I sell my products, I send 5 percent to an orphanage in town. I am happy to help too.”

Jonas Soulouque


Jimmy Prophet


Jimmy Prophet has big dreams. His passion for metal art began early and at the age of 13, Jimmy was apprenticing under the Balan brothers and Hubbert Jean Baptist. He aspires to, “make great exploits in this field of art to help my family. I would like to visit other countries and go make exhibitions of my art so that my art is known everywhere.”

Drawing from nature and his religion, he says, “That is why I make parts representing animals, trees, and angels.” It seems he has a little fun with his designs, placing large birds in flight while almost hiding others in the leaves and branches of trees, thereby making an accurate bird count difficult at first glance. A little bit of a sculptural “Where’s Waldo?” to draw an appreciative chuckle and the artist enjoys the game too.

“I am proud to be an artist. I am convinced that nothing in this world will make me give up this field. It is my vocation and it has become my life.”

JN ROBENS BRUTUS


Jocelyn Pierre


In a shy, unimposing manner, Pierre Jocelyn shares his story: He was born in December, 1980, and studied English and French in school. His interest in metal sculpture developed early on, and he spent many years under the apprenticeship of Jonas Balan. Since 2006, Pierre has had his own shop and enjoys the freedom of expression that creating his own designs allows.

Giving other budding artists the opportunities that he once had is something of a cultural obligation. Pierre, however, treats it as a privilege. He says in a serious tone, “I teach people how to work. When I hire them, I help them to earn a life with what they are doing. I love what I do and I will do it all my life.”

John Roberts



Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

John Sylvestre


Tender, sensuous, ethereal figures characterize the work of John Sylvestre. The forms of his mermaids and angels are almost otherworldly, serenely defying the cold, hard steel from which they are made.

Seemingly, inspiration is everywhere. Under the sea, in the heavens, in the forests and fields of rural Haiti, in the mythology of the ancients, and in the most fantastic reaches of the mind, there is nowhere too far to stretch. Nothing is off-limits.

Maybe it’s because he’s been at it so long. Since 1968, at the age of 11 when he first picked up a hammer in the workshop of Janvier Louisjuste, John Sylvestre has been pushing the boundries of creative expression. But curiously, despite training with Louisjuste and later with Serge Jolimeau, he doubted his ability. There was a time when he thought it would be wiser to “buy an old truck and be a tap-tap driver.” And not have those dancing, soaring, floating, sailing images in steel? That would have been a shame.

Johnson Cajuste



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Jonas Balan


The eldest brother in a family of talented sculptors, Jonas Balan does classic bare metal images, mermaids, children playing, and spiritual figures well as painted sculptures. His palette is Caribbean quintessence, with citrusy reds, yellows and oranges and aquatic shades of blues, greens and purples. Most recently, he has focused on geckos, though he has a nicely varied repertoire including houses, tap-tap busses, turtles, and fish.

Not only is Jonas a skillful craftsman, he is also recognized as the family businessman. When Casey Riddell of Beyond Borders met the Balan brothers, three were sharing a workshop that doubled as the home for their three families when work stopped for the evening. Between them, they had one bicycle for transportation. However, through their diligent efforts to create, execute, and sell their art and Jonas’ careful management of their earnings, they all have their own homes, a truck, and cell phones. They’ve come a long way.

Jonas Louisil



Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Jonas Soulouque



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Joseph Jean Peterson


“I am Joseph Jean Peterson. I have originated in Haiti in April, 1982. I am married. I have two small boys.” In this way, Joseph introduces himself. He is a handsome man with a slow, but genuine smile. His workshop, “The St. Charles Bird Workshop” is a lively colorful place, with sunset orange-colored walls and the constant cacophony of clanging, banging metal against metal. A family-oriented man, he opened his shop with his mother and older brother in 1997, having previously apprenticed with Jean Roosevelt Bauchard.

His imagery is versatile; Joseph’s creative mind running the gamut from mermaids and fish in the seas to gardens of sunflowers and children at play, to stars in the heavens. His masks can be representative of surprised school girls in dread-lock pigtails or fearsome 3-D warriors from dark and savage jungles. There is such a range in his designs as to lead one to the conclusion that he can do it all.

Joseph is well aware that his work is important not only to his family, but to his community as well. He says, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Joubert Brutus


Thanks to his uncle Lionel Brutus, who introduced him to metal sculpture, Joubert Brutus is confident in his craftsmanship - a proud and accomplished artist. “I am great,” he says without a trace of modesty, but it is that boldness of spirit that makes it a pleasure to know him.

“I did my first work of art in 2005. It was a beautiful angel and it was in the Haitian Art Mueum. It eventually sold to an ambassador for a very high price.” Encouraged by his early success, he continued to study as an apprentice to Evenson Thenor, Nicolson, and Maxell Brutus. Now that his apprenticeship is complete, he looks forward to striking out in his own shop and doing a brisk business with Beyond Borders. “I am very happy to have Casey as boss because she is a good person. She takes care of her artists.”

Julio Balan


Born in 1970, Julio Balan is considered one of the most talented metal sculptors on the island. Many, many young artists began their apprenticeships in his workshop, respecting his skill, and regarding him highly. He is married with six children and fills his themes with lively patterns that tell us of an everyday life that is productive, spiritual and satisfying. His work continues to gain an international reputation.

Julio Balan and his three brothers - Jonas, Joel, and Romel - were taught by their close neighbor, Darius Gary. In their lakou, or shared compound, the Balans often work together to produce art from metal drum pieces. Like many of the other sculptors, Voodoo influences their art, with La Sirene, the mermaid being prominent. Additionally, trees of life flourish in many of Julio's sculptoral pieces and lately he has been experimenting with "tall skinnies" - disproportionately long and thin figures performing the actiities of daily life.

Kendy Bellony


With the encouragement of his older brother, Caleb, 10- year- old Kendy Bellony took hammer and chisel in hand and began the practice of “coupe de fer” or cutting iron. At the time, he was attending school, along with his two younger sisters. Their father had died and the extra income that Kendy could provide was vital to the family.

“Caleb saw that I was very intelligent and could make beautiful designs. By age 15, I was selling my pieces in the shop of my uncle. I also sold in a gallery in Petionville. I had a lot of big customers. Then Caleb gave me more good advice. He said I should send samples to Casey Riddell of Beyond Borders. So I did that. Now she is buying my work to sell in the United States. She is my patronne, and I am very happy about that!”

La Guerre Dieufaite


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Louiceus Antelus


Even a brief look at the work of Louiceus Antelus demonstrates that his imagination knows no boundaries. Always reaching, always exploring, he has an acute eye for the possible. And while some designs are quite elaborate, others are elegant in their simplicity. He knows when more is more, but perhaps more importantly from a composition standpoint, he knows when enough is enough.

He’s had good training. Beginning as an unpaid apprentice with master sculptor, Gabriel Bien Aime at the age of 15, he moved on to work with the Balan brothers, Jonas and Julio. At that point, he started to assume more and more difficult tasks, rose to each occasion, and came to be paid accordingly.

The earthquake of January 2010 was cataclysmic for Louiceus, as it was for most of his countrymen. He and his family survived, but he lost much of his work and most of his Haitian customers, many of whom did not pull through the disaster. Of those that did, all but a scant few left Haiti for good.

Still Louiceus retains his joie de vivre. In his words, “I love God, my work, little children, football, my country, and I love you all.”

LOUIS ERIC


Marcelus Michelet



Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Markenson Brutus


The second of 11 children, Markenson Brutus, like so many others, had to abandon his education to take a job and help to provide for his family.
His decision to pursue a career in metal sculpture was encouraged by his cousins, Evenson Thenor and Nicolson Mathieu, with whom he apprenticed.
He says, “ I have been working as an artist for 8 years now. Since I was young, I have always had art in me. Metal sculpture is a way to show my talent.”

As an apprentice, Markenson was guided not only in craftsmanship, but also learned how to promote his work through exhibitions and gallery sales. His designs are inspired in large part by the natural world. He comments, “I see designs in everything, but especially insects, sea creatures and birds. With God, all things are good.” Though he laments having to have left school himself, he sees his art as giving him the means to uplift the lives of those around him. Markenson dreams of being able to send children to school. “Without education, you will not reach as high as you can be.
I pray that I can create more and sell more and I thank God for the determination and courage that He gave me. Without it, I would not exist.”

Courage and determination got a boost from Beyond Borders after the earthquake. “You send money to us. If not, it would have been the end of the world for us in Croix-des-Bouquets. Thank you. Thank you very much for that.”

Max-elie Brutus


Exhibiting his work at no less than the National Palace in 2002 at the age of 15, it has been clear from the beginning that Max-elie Brutus is an artist of considerable talent and potential. He says, “My first artistic work was a beautiful sun. I learned to do it from my father. He is dead now, and my mother is too. But I carry on the work to be a great artist.”

An Evengelical Christian, Max-elie makes simple, elegant images from “God’s kingdom.” He supports his wife, Fosia Desilus and their young son Akley with the money he makes selling sculpture from his workshop, which opened in 2004. Additionally, he attends the Concord University of Haiti, hoping that his artistry and education will provide them all with a better life.


Meda Ullysse



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Michee Ramil Remy



The work of Michee Ramil Remy is highly distinctive, recognizable, and sought after. Rightly, he has been the recipient of world-wide acclaim. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career in metal sculpting was his selection by former president Bill Clinton to create commemorative artworks for the Clinton Global Initiative’s Global Citizen Awards in 2009. It was a great honor, but only one among many of Michee’s considerable artistic achievements.

Beginning his tutelage under his step-father, Gabriel Bien-Aime at the age of 14, Michee blossomed artistically. He studied art and design in high school and his creativity was given ground to flourish. During these early years, Michee said he was visited again and again in his dreams by a shadowy figure who encouraged him and told him that it was his destiny to become a great artist. Optimistic, encouraged, and loaded with talent; Michee opened his own atelier in 1990 in Croix des Bouquets. By 1993, his distinctive style had begun to attract wide attention and he was invited to participate in the Haiti National Artists Exhibition. The following year, he attended the Smithsonian Institute International Festival as a guest artist, and beginning in 2009, he regularly participated in the prestigious Santa Fe International Folk Art Festival. In 2010, he and another artist, Serge Jolimeau were featured in an important exhibition at the North Miami Museum of Art, and later at the Clinton Library as part of a larger exhibition called, “Haiti – Building Back Better.”

Michee claimed his design ideas were always visions from his own dreams - dreams of mermaids, birds, angels, fishes, and gods. When he awoke, he hammered his visions into metal. At one point he said, “The mermaid is my favorite design. I can make them move and I find inspiration in the sculpture. Day by day, I try to promote my talents in offering designs to catch the eye. I work every day and it is a pleasure to me when I have a piece of metal in my hands.” His greatest works utilized the entire steel drum, which allowed him to, “express fully the visions in my head.”

Unfortunately, the work and the visions have been brought to an untimely end. After a long struggle with a myriad of health issues, Michee Ramil Remy died on March 11, 2012 at the age of 41. His memory and legacy will be carried on through his family, his village, and in museums and private collections throughout the world. The dreams, however, must find a new home.

Michel Jn Raynald


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Montes Paul


It is not difficult to imagine Montes Paul taking a walk among the trees, looking up and listening to birdsong for his inspiration. Birds take wing across his sculptures, cavort in the palms, hide among the vines, and even make an occasional nest in a head of hair!

Born in Croix des Bouquets in 1971, he learned his craft at the instructive hand of Hubert Bernard. Five years ago, he decided to strike out on his own. He comments, “It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Hubert Bernard’s shop and create my own art. I have a wife and children to support. It wasn’t an easy street for me, in spite of my experience. But thanks so to God that I did.”

Indeed, it has been a good thing. Montes loves to create his own designs.
Since striking out on his own, he has participated in three art expositions in Haiti, selling all of his designs, “because they were so nice.” He is pleased to be selling his sculptures with Beyond Borders in the international market. As he readily admits, “It has been my dream for a long time.”

Nicolson Mathieu


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

Nobert Milfort



From the age of ten, Norbert Milfort has, over the years built up quite a resume for himself. He loves and admires the work of many of his predecessors and studied under such luminaries as Serge Jolimeau, Gabriel Bien-Aime, and Gary Darius. He apprenticed for many years and then tried his hand at being a plumber/electrician. Whether it was a pragmatic pull or a passionate one, he returned to art as his chosen profession.

Since then, Norbert has honed his skills as an artist and opened his own studio in Noailles in Croix des Bouquets. He has participated in several craft exhibitions in Argentina, Chile, and Peru and is proud to have his works sold on the international market. He is grateful for the support that Beyond Borders has given not just to him, but to his fellow artisans as well.

Norvh Saint Bonheur




Fleeing northern Haiti and an outbreak of disease that threatened the children of Port-Margot, Norvh Saint Bonheur moved with his family to Croix-des-Bouquets in 1993 at the age of three. In 1998, his parents returned to Port-Margot, but even then, the family knew that their 3 boys would have better opportunity for education and work in Croix-des-Bouquets than they would up country. Thus, Norvh and his brothers stayed. By the time he was nine, little Norvh was flattening out steel drums in the shop of his neighbor, Pierre Jocelyn.

Later on, Norvh realized that he needed more training to grow in the art of metal sculpture. He joined the shop of Julio Balan, where he learned techniques of drawing and design. Though his first piece of his own design was an angel, the tree of life has come to be Norvh’s favorite, “because it gives fruit to eat. It does give us life.”

Now in their 30s, Norvh and his brothers have their own shop. When they can, they send extra money back to their mother and father in Port-Margot. Their parents are deeply appreciative, despite their mother’s often expressed worry that, “You boys are going to break your fingers with those hammers!”

OMISCAR LOUIS JUSTE


OSIAS MARIE ANTOINE


PATRICK BERNARD


Preslet Soulouque



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Remy Guy Roberns


Born in September 1978 to Gusmane Remy and Altagrace Juste, Remy Guy Roberns was drawn to metal sculpture at the age of 10. His hard work and attention to detail paid off. By age 15, he had completed his apprenticeship and reached professional status. Now in his own atelier, he experiments with form, dimension, and color in his designs. His butterflies are particularly delicate, crafted with simplicity and elegance, attesting to a keen eye and skillful hand.

A man of uncommon humanity, Remy Guy has spent countless hours volunteering at AfricAmerica, a multi-national organization centered in Port-au-Prince that supports and promotes contemporary arts and artists. Lending his talents to its cause, he does everything from working with children to laying brick and mortar. His dream of being an internationally acclaimed artist surely comes closer by his efforts.


Remy Jean Eugene


With a distinctive style and innovative capacity that doesn't quit, Remy Jean Eugene is definately an artist on the rise. He makes great use of three dimensional imagery and his sculptures are filled with action and detail.


Born in 1984 in Port-au-Prince, his mother was already a widow with 3 small boys to feed. At the age of six, he began working “the iron cut for people,” eventually apprenticing in the workshop of Julio Balan.

He remembers his very first sale with fondness and pride: a voodoo piece, sold to a German customer for $30. (US) Though he is Catholic, it is not uncommon in Haiti to blend Catholic and Voodoo practices and symbolism.
The two are quite compatible in the traditional Haitian view. In 2009, he participated in a “Sirena” exhibition in the Dominican Republic and two years later, travelled to Eaton, Florida as a guest artist. There he demonstrated his craft at the “Zora!” Festival of Arts and Humanities, where the theme for the year was "Remembering Haiti."

Remy Jean has a vision of art as his life’s work. It is his clearly passion. He says, “I dream of having a golden hammer and making my coffin in a beautiful work of iron."

Roberto Saint Preux



“I am happy to tell you where I am from and where I want to go,” begins Roberto Saint Preux. “I was born in Croix-des-Bouquets, the first of 7 children to my mother and father. We were not too rich or too poor, that is to say, we got by on what we had. But when I was ten, my father died. Nothing in life was as before. My mother was a seamstress, but there was no longer money to go to school, so we had to stop. That’s when I began the iron cut. Later, when I was 20, my mother died. Now my brothers and sisters are my responsibility.”

Roberto continues, saying, “I began with Winston Cajuste and Nicolson Mathieu. They paid me money from their hands. I fed my brothers and sisters with it and it encouraged me to work much more. I look to nature – the trees and animals – and I create new designs. I want to be one of the greatest artists of the present. This is my job and I love it with all my heart.”

ROBINSON MERVIL


Romel Balan


One of Romel Balan’s earliest childhood memories is the ringing sound of hammer against metal. Born in Noailles in 1973 to Gislene Pierre and Joli Balan, he was initiated into the field of metal sculpture by his eldest brother, Jonas. Today, with his own workshop, he creates wonderful images of African animals, such as elephants, zebras, and giraffes, and endearing scenes of Noah and the Ark. Additionally, an affinity for rock and roll is suspected. From the doorway of Romel’s shop, cut-out guitarists can be seen jamming and bongo players pound out rhythms on their drums. In a particularly intriguing piece, an angel riding a bicycle with a load of pineapples in her market basket blasts on her trumpet to the wild applause of a cherub perched on the back. A good trick, even for an angel.

The father of two boys and two girls, Romel works hard to provide them a happy, comfortable home. Having participated in several art festivals and exhibitions, he hopes to take part in exhibitions abroad someday. Despite the devastating earthquake of 2010 and the lingering difficulties of it’s aftermath, his love of art prevails.

Rony



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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.

Salomon Jean Belony


“On the 2010 earthquake, my house was destroyed. Thanks God, no one was killed. Since the earthquake, I feel everything has changed. It was the end of the world. Now activities are shyly back. Thanks to the support that we get from Beyond Borders, there is still life. But I wish to Haiti back as before, or better. Things cannot remain so.”

Few in the West have had such cathartic experiences as the earthquake that Salomon Jean Belony describes. Born in 1979 to a family of modest means, he began sculpting at the age of 16 under the guidance of Meda Ullysse. As he became more proficient his pieces started to sell, initially to tourists in the area, and later in galleries. Salomon Jean hopes one day to show in exhibitions, around Haiti or abroad. As he says, “The greater dream is becoming more popular, like other great artists, to help my family and to help others in need. I would like to help children. I want them to be able to learn in schools, even if they have no money to pay.”

Seig-Non Gonzalez Jr.


When asked to describe himself, Seig-Non Gonzalez Jr. responds, “I am someone very nice, sensible and respectable. I have an objective to do art.” In manner and in speech, he is completely straightforward, yet his sun face designs are fanciful, full of movement and almost Baroque in style. Art of a very playful nature, from a man of serious visage.

Seig-Non was born in March of 1988, the second of five children. He pursued his education in banking, but found his passion lay in metal sculpture. At the age of 23, he sees art as his path to the future. He says, “From the bottom of my heart, I wish for my designs to be seen and appreciated. It is for me a great honor and a joy to do this work.”

SHELOUE VILSAINLT


Simon Gerald


SOLOMAN BELONY


St. Charles Jean Bernard


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.


Vertus Romens


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, Beyond Borders’ 70-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.”

Beyond Borders 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, Beyond Borders and its Haitian artists work toward their mutual goals of uplifting lives.


Walner Joseph



Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.

As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”

Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.

WATSON ST CHARLES


Willy Lijeune


Born as the youngest of five children into a family that was “not too rich, and not too poor,” Willy Lijeune has been interested in art his whole life. “Even when I was little,” he says, “I used to braid coconut leaves as decorations. In 1998, when I was 15, I started school in Port-au-Prince, but I also started into the metal sculpture too.”

Learning in the shop of Winzor Gouin, Willy soon came to realize that flowers were his specialty. His delicate, highly-detailed designs sold quickly in the galleries of Port-au-Prince and they became his signature pieces. “I like flowers - they are my inspiration. I will make flower sculptures to support my wife and my family. The more beautiful they are, the better I can do for my family.”


Click to enlarge

Wilson Etienne


“Nine out of my family of ten people are artists,” says Etienne Wilson. “And I am one of the nine. I was born in 1986 and by 1995, I was working in this occupation of metal sculpture, burning out the barrels and flattening them with my hammer. I got my first order in 2003.” Now creating beautiful works where butterflies flitter and dragonflies buzz in dreamy circles, he is in his element, his brilliant smile a testament to the joy of creative expression.

For a time, Etienne worked in construction to make ends meet. However, two respected artists in Croix-des-Bouquets convinced him that his future lay in metal sculpture. “They said that my opportunity was here as an artist. The village of Croix-des-Bouquets is the mother town. It was a difficult decision to commit to this art, but thanks to Casey Riddell, I know that this work will be seen and known around the world."

Winston Cajuste


“Two friends, they give me a job to flatten 5 drums. It was my first experiment and I practiced it with naked hands. It tore my hands, but they gave me money and that put much joy in my heart. In the following day, they gave me 10 drums to flatten. Quickly, I completed them and they gave me much more money. It was one of my more beautiful memories that I now had my own moneys.” Thus begins the story of Winston Cajuste's work in metal sculpture.

“I cut out my first drums with a man called Meda. I benefitted from this and thought about creating my own works. The first one of my own was a musician. On that basis, I created many others different models.”

Winston is a man with a close association to the spiritual world. Although Voodoo is an integral and vibrant part of Haitian cultural and spiritual life, the country is actually considered by academics to be over 80 percent Catholic. Like its Creole language, however, religion is blended in Haiti. Winston’s themes tend to reflect angels and nativity scenes very recognizable in Western culture, though with unmistakable Creole flavor.

When he thinks back upon the time of the 2010 earthquake, Winston recalls that catastrophe in great detail. “I go home to see many bodies through the street, people seriously wounded, houses completely destroyed, and parents screaming for their children. All things have blocks at this time.
My family had no house, no water, nor the bank or even food available.
During the night my family sleep on the street for two weeks, not even a piece of cloth to cover us.” In desperate need of relief, it came quickly from Beyond Borders. “That is when the first person who think of us was Casey, with money to help. We did not even believe of so very nice gesture as that.”

Winzor Gouin


Winzor Gouin has achieved acclaim and great success with his chosen profession as an artist. Born in 1970 in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville, he began his training with the encouragement of his mother, who introduced him to Hubert Bernard. Bernard took him on as an apprentice. It was an eye-opening experience for the teenager. Winzor remembers, “In the beginning, it was not easy because you hammer in using a chisel in your hand and you are between the anvil and the hammer. It is very dangerous work, but the main thing is to learn it. I knew it was necessary because I saw in advance that I could earn my life through it. I spent a great number of time learning in Hubert Bernard’s shop.”

A dedicated student of both metal craft and academics, Winzor continued to go to school while training in the workshop. He realized early on that learning English would help him to build his reputation and ply his trade on an international level. And so it did. When he began working with Casey Riddell of Beyond Borders, he was ahead of the game, both in terms of his skill and because of the ease of communication. Says Casey, “He is great to work with because he is so creative and we can brainstorm on designs together. I can place an order and know that he’s got a clear idea of what we want. It’s a luxury to be able to communicate on this level with him.”

In turn, Winzor appreciates the opportunities that Beyond Borders has given him. “In the past time, I would exhibit my work with other artists in a shop, but with the coming of Casey, there is great improvement in the dealing of metal sculpture. She works very hard to improve the artists’ situations and help them survive. Every time we get orders, we can help ourselves to earn our life.”

In 2008, Winzor received sponsorship from Beyond Borders to participate in the Santa Fe International Art Market. He recalls, “It was a great experience for me. I had a dream to leave Haiti and show my work in a foreign country one day. I always work hard and I want to be a famous artist. This makes a good step in that way. I met so many people and they liked my work. It was a very exciting time that I feel so grateful to be able to do it.”

Yinder Decembre


Born in the city of Mirbalais in the mountainous interior of Haiti in 1979, Decembre Yinder moved away from his family to Croix-des-Bouquets to pursue art and education. He was taken under wing by a local priest, who not only taught him English, but also got him into metal painting, something he enjoyed very much. Ever inquisitive, he became intrigued by metal sculpture and soon joined the shop of Augustin Jhonson.

The future seemed tenuously bright. Though his father had died and he felt the responsibility of providing for his four brothers and two sisters, he had skill and an artist’s hand. There was hope. The earthquake changed everything. In the violent convulsions of the earth, his home and one of his brothers were lost. Through the support of Beyond Borders, through trade and tenacity, the worst part is over. Hope glimmers again.

Decembre thinks about his metal art designs day and night. More than a habit, it is almost like breathing for him. Currently, he is working on sun-faced figures. He imagines the playful, happy children in his designs as having visited the sun and being transformed by it. The thought makes him smile. “They represent the sun shining on my future. If I can sell them, I can build my house and take care of my brothers and sisters. I have faith that everything is going to be okay.”

Yves Darus


Tiny Croix-des-Bouquet, Haiti is anything but quiet, announcing itself to those who venture there. Hammers clang and chisels tap and in loud proclamation, “We do metal sculpture here!” Indeed, all of our 70-plus artists live and work in this artisan’s village, many having learned their trade from fathers, cousins, neighbors and friends. Starting out as young laborers, cleaning and sanding the metal, and banging it flat, they advance to the apprentice stage, where they learn the intricacies of detail and design work.
As their skills improve and savings become sufficient, experienced artisans often strike out on their own, selling their own work, forming their own workshops, taking on laborers and apprentices, thereby expanding and perpetuating their craft as well as bringing greater prosperity to their community as a whole. As one artist put it, “I helped many people to learn this sculpture. My dream is to have a larger workshop and give more people work. I trust in God that my dream will be realized.”
Providing a marketing avenue for the artists is where Beyond Borders comes in. Not only do we give the artists access and exposure to the world marketplace, as a member of the Fair Trade Federation, we ensure that our artists are paid equitably. Additionally, we uphold the highest social and economic standards, and promote long-term sustainability through dialogue, transparency, and respect.