4 missing Haitian artists finding success despite handicaps - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4 missing Haitian artists finding success despite handicaps

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Among the thousands still missing in the rubble are four Haitian artists with East Texas ties. The artists are all faced with physical handicaps, but have learned to profit from their work thanks to the Global Art Initiative.

Jean Paul Joseph, better known as Jo-Jo, was born with no arms or legs.

"He just has stubs for arms and legs," said Don Bristow, with Global Art Initiative. "And, someone else straps a brush on his arm and he paints incredibly beautiful work."

Bristow says Jo-Jo is one of four Haitian artists he knows that don't let their disabilities get in the way of their art.

"Herald Alveres has no arms," said Bristow. "He paints with...a brush in his mouth."

Then, there is Pierre, an artist and paralympic athlete with no legs. And, Eder, a polio victim who relies on his crutches to move around.

All four men work with Global Art Initiative, the Texas-based organization that reaches out to the disabled in third world countries.

"Often times they are treated less than dogs," said Bristow.

Bristow says their mission is to educate the artists.

Their artwork is sold in the United States, and the profit goes strait back to men in Haiti.

"Watching them paint beautiful paintings in the condition that they are in makes us realize how much we have," said Bristow.

Working less than three miles away from the Presidential Palace in Haiti, Bristow says the men haven't been heard from since before the earthquake.

Global Art Initiative is quickly raising funds to send someone down to look for the artists.

"Our focus is on channeling a lot of those resources to the disabled," said Bristow. "Another aspect is there are a lot of newly disabled people in Haiti so we want to help out with that as well."

They are determined to carry out their mission. Click here to learn more about

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