Today, I am remembering my Heart of Haiti visit to Haitian metal artisan Serge Jolimeau’s atelier on February 26, 2011, in Croix des Bouquets, a town located outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. See the video above. At first glance, I fell in love with Jolimeau’s artwork featuring La Sirene, a beautiful African-inspired mermaid and Haitian loa who rules the seas with her husband Agwe. La Sirene brings luck and money from the ocean’s depth were she makes her own music. She adores objects of beauty, jewelry, gold and diamonds. She is also a seductress like Haitian loa Erzulie Freda and dangerously fierce like Haitian loa Erzulie Dantor. Erzulie is the goddess of love and one of my all time favorite Haitian goddesses. Mermaids have always been some of my favorites (on my first night in Port-au-Prince, I purchased two paintings featuring La Sirene – see photo). La Sirene and Erzulie show up in my own paintings, wire sculptures and books!
Did you know that Jolimeau’s metal artwork is made from oil cans? What a powerful way to recycle and recreate beauty!
His artwork reflects his family’s farming background, fertile imagination, and passion for Haitian Voodoo and folklore, the human body, animals, and figures from mythology. It is featured and sold in the Heart of Haiti collection at Macy’s.
About Serge Jolimeau:
Jolimeau, a native of Croix des Bouquets, was born in 1952. Croix des Bouquets is the home of several great Haitian sculptors including the late Georges Liautaud and Murat Brierre, the brothers Louisjuste, and Gabriel Bien-Aimé. As a child, he as inspired by the blacksmiths in his village. After he completed high school, he worked as an apprentice under metal sculptor Serisier Louisjuste. His work has been published in Where Art is Joy (Rodman, 1988), Forgerons duVodou/ Voodoo Blacksmiths (Foubert, 1990), and A Haitian Celebration: Art and Culture (Stebich, 1992). He has shown his work at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, LACITA in Biarritz, France, and in Germany, Haiti, and Mexico. Currently, he serves as a community leader for the Association of Artists and Artisans of Croix des Bouquets. To learn more about Jolimeau, visit the links below.
About the Heart of Haiti:
The Heart of Haiti campaign is a partnership between Fairwinds Trading, Macy’s, and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. It was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January 2010 earthquake. Through the partnership, the artisans create artwork that is sold as the Heart of Haiti collection in Macy’s stores. The sales from these hand-made products including quilts, metalwork, paper måché, painting and jewelry generate the sustainable income and provide trade instead of aid to the Haitian artisans.