Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population of 11 million people living on less than US$2 per day.
About 70% of the population is unemployed.  Political instability, food shortages, unemployment, tropical storms and hurricanes have kept most Haitians locked in a cycle of poverty.  Yet the people of Haiti are industrious.


Since the 1950s, Haitian artisans have sculpted discarded 55 gallon oil drums into detailed recycled wall art and amazing steel wall hangings.  A folk art form rooted in nature and culture, Haitian metal sculpture is recognized Oil Drum Blog 2 throughout the world for its incredible creativity and beautiful design.   Each piece is hand drawn, hand hammered and hand chiseled from discarded oil drums to create stunning one-of-a-kind works of art.

As one might imagine, the process is homespun.  Lids from the steel oil drums

are removed then filled with banana or sugar cane leaves, then burned to remove the paint and prep the steel. Once the drum is cooled it is cut from top to bottom, flattened using with the human body, mostly pushing with feet and arms, and then pounded flat to create a metal canvas. A pattern is drawn onto the metal sheet using chalk and cut and textured with basic hand tools such as hammer and chisel. Rough edges and are smoothed by hand,  and complicated shapes are formed to give each piece life.

 Artisans who are able to export their artwork to the US under fair labor conditions have the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty and improve their quality of life. APIARIA is proud to Oil Drum Blog 3 represent the Handmade Haitian Oil Drum Art from many of these artisans, providing them access and exposure to the U.S. marketplace.

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