In a country where artisans are limited by their financial resources, the types of natural resources that are used in art pieces are often beyond belief. This week we are exploring the use of riverbed rocks which offer good natural canvas to creative Haitian artisans. Although this is a popular practice that is not specific to Haitians, you cannot help but wonder whether financial limitation has been the reason why this practice has flourished on this poor island. Regardless of the motivation, the final products are nothing short of beautiful. The pleasant clash of colors on this week’s exhibits almost make us forget that at some point, these used to be two simple stones laying at the bottom of some Haitian river.
The rough finish of this cup is truly what caught our attention. What else haven’t Haitian artists turn into makeshift canvas? By now it is clear that their creative mind have not ran out of ideas when it comes to choosing the next victim of their pretentious artistic makeovers. The cup we are showcasing this week embodies the simplistic and primitive nature of the art on this island. A type of art that is embraced around the world among niche collectors and by us here at PlayfulSplash.com. We hope you enjoy it too!
Who cares about the actual content of these jewelry boxes when the boxes themselves offer so much to look at? This must have been the mentality of the Haitian artist when he designed these containers. Both pieces offer the usual finesse and joyful colors that we have observed on all the artifacts that have been showcased on PlayfulSplash.com thus far. Although we decided to label these containers as jewelry boxes, we have no doubt they can be used to effortlessly embelish bookshelves, desktops and for that matter any location of a house in dire need of a refreshing look. We hope you enjoy these original work of art as much as we do.
This week, the wood work we have in store showcases, the ability of skilled Haitian artisans to transform tough wood into smooth home decorations. The contrast of the brightly colored flowers, painted over the mahogany hardwood gives this piece somewhat of a vintage look that is sought by interior designers. It is interesting how haitian artists tend to incorporate floral motifs into the majority of their artistic designs. Some may argue that this practice is often tacky and spoils the piece but in this case the contrast of colors is tasteful and provides the tough wood with a smooth and charming finish. This is definitely one of our favorite pieces.
As the title of this blog post suggest, we are taking a short break from posting Haitian artwork to learn about the country’s history. Learning about a country’s historical background allows for a better understanding of the origin of its art and its influences. Arawak, Spanish, French and African all played key roles in the country’s troubled past and in the process elements of their culture, beliefs and traditions helped shaped what we know today as the Haitian culture. Narrating such a rich history even at a high level can be a daunting task. Fortunately, we found online a short video that summarizes the main points of the country’s past and will help you understand where Haitian art finds its influence.
Video Courtesy of New Missions
This week, PlayfulSplash.com is entering unchartered territory as we explore the use of starfishes (aka sea stars) for their artistic value. Starfishes are visually intriguing creatures that live along the beaches. Their brightly colored shell offer textured visuals that make them work of arts in their own right. In Haiti, these shells have not been able to escape the creative eye of local artists and artisans who proceed to enhance their appeal with a paintbrush, some brightly colored paint and some imagination. As a result, sea stars are transformed into delicate home accent that provide non tropical homes a unique Caribbean touch. The item featured this week is one of many types of seashell art that Haiti has to offer.
The following video would be the type of clip to showcase to those who want a quick overview of contemporary Haitian art. This well directed montage, presents in 5 minutes some of the major artwork categories Haiti has to offer and many of which are covered weekly here on PlayfulSplash.com. The inspiring music that plays in the background as the artisans and their work are showcased help deliver the message that Haitian art is undoubtedly rich and deeply rooted in the country’s heritage. Simplicity is another aspect of this art that stole our admiration throughout this video. Who would have thought that simple tabacco leaves could be used to make such appealing vases? If you do not believe us, pay close attention to the segment between 2:15 and 2:37. Overall this is a moving video that we recommend you take a look at.
Video Courtesy of Urbanzen Zen Foundation
Have you ever stared at an artwork and tried to speculate on the methods the artist might have employed to achieve his final master piece? Did he draw the outline first or did he accomplish his art in a free hand fashion? Did he use power tools or did he use manual processes? Is he reproducing an existing visual or is the representation a fruit of the artist’s imagination? Did the art take several days to complete or was this a project completed over a couple of hours?… So many of these questions come to mind when we have a Haitian metal art sculpture in our possession. Today’s video gives us a feel for the process followed to attain the final product. With no narration, this video truly helps solidify our admiration for the man behind these type of art as he hammers away and whips out an impressive sculpture in a matter of hours.
Video Courtesy of LutheranWorldRelief Youtube channel
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