Ananda’s #HeartofHaiti Post: Croix-des-Bouquets Metal Artisans & Their Connection to Ogoun, Haitian god of metalwork (videos included)


Ananda holding a metal bowl by a metal artisan in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti

Croix-des-Bouquets is an amazing city bubbling with creativity in Haiti.  Creative genius Wyclef Jean, a Haitian musician, record producer, philanthropist, and former member of the Fugees who ran for president of Haiti in 2010, was born there.

Heart of Haiti metal jewelry created by Croix-des-Bouquets metal artisans
Croix-des-Bouquets metal artisans
Photo Credit: Ogoun's Veve by Catherine Beyer -

When I visited Croix-des-Bouquets and met the talented Heart of Haiti metal artisans during my blogger ambassador trip in February, I was reminded of Ogoun, the Haitian Vodun warrior spirit who presides over metal work, fire, hunting, politics, war, and the unemployed. Click here to listen to my audio blog. Check out more photos of the metal artisans’ work here.

Metal artwork featuring Haitian love goddess Erzulie's heart by J. Romy

Ogoun gives strength through prophecy and magic., and is known as the Father of technology and one of the husbands of Erzulie, Haitian goddess of love. Ogoun is also associated with healing and seen as a combat medic, thinker, strategist, and diplomat. His colors red and blue.

Ananda, Croix-des-Bouquets metal artisan J. Romy, and Fairwinds Trading Haiti Country Director Nathalie Tancrede
Ananda standing by metal mixed media sculpture by metal artisan J. Robert Jacques

Did you know many believe Ogoun planted the idea for the Haitian Revolution of 1804 in the minds of the enslaved Africans? Some say that he led and empowered the enslaved Africans to create Haiti as an independent nation. Others believe Ogoun is now called to help the Haitian people obtain a government more responsive to their needs. May Ogoun give the Haitian people the wisdom they need to vote for a new president on March 20!

After the March 20th elections, the people of Haiti will still need our support. One way you can support them is by purchasing the artwork of Heart of Haiti metal artisans at Macy’s. Their beautiful and decorative artwork will make great Easter and Mother’s Day gifts. They also serve as fantastic graduation, wedding, birthday, and Father’s Day gifts. Visit the Heart of Haiti collection on

PS: Here are several videos featuring the metal artisans.

Join #HeartofHaiti Blogger Ambassador Ananda Leeke for 3/5 live chat about her Haiti Trip @8pm ET

Tomorrow evening I am experimenting with a new social media tool (at least for me) called Vokle during my live chat about my Heart of Haiti trip at 8:00 pm ET. Drop by and participate in the the video chat.  You can use the hashtag #HeartofHaiti to follow the conversation.  I will be sharing the books that helped me prepare for the trip, highlights from my trip, showing artwork I purchased from the Heart of Haiti artisans, and answering questions about my Haiti adventures.  Click here to join the live chat.  You can also register for it.  Feel free to watch it live tomorrow on my web site’s home page.

PS: The live chat will not be recorded! Vokle does NOT provide this service:(!  So I guess that means I will have to host a Digital Sisterhood Radio show about my trip and invite the bloggers who attended to be guests later this month.  Stay tuned for the date and time (it will happen!).

#HeartofHaiti Blogger Ambassador Ananda Leeke’s Visit to Haitian Voodoo Flag Shop in Croix-des-Bouquets

Ananda standing with Voodoo flag artist Jean Paul Baptiste


One of the highlights of my Heart of Haiti trip was a visit to Voodoo flag artist Jean Paul Baptiste’s shop in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti on February 26, 2011. The video above features many Voodoo flags.  I was in heaven when I saw the flags with the Haitian goddess of love Erzulie and La Sirene, a Haitian goddess of the seas who appears as a mermaid.  Click here to see all of the photos on Flickr.







Ananda’s Heart of Haiti Visit to Metal Artisans in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti

Serge Jolimeau’s Metal Artwork

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!

La Sirene paintings from an art gallery in Port-au-Prince

Did you know that Jolimeau’s  metal artwork is made from oil cans?  What a powerful way to recycle and recreate beauty!

Oil can used by metal artisans to create metal artwork

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:

Serge Jolimeau’s metal artwork

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.