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The Three Pitons ~ Saint Lucia
Signed Kirk Elliott Prints
In 2014 I was invited to the remote rural community of Fond Gens Libre in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean to help residents improve the mountain hike they offer to tourists. The invitation came after my St Lucia Photo Tour won its first TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and got ranked the #1 Outdoor Activity in St Lucia’s capital city.
Upon arrival in Fond Gens Libre I was greeted by the sight of Gros Piton – Saint Lucia’s second tallest mountain. The mountain was so close that I could practically reach out and touch it. It loomed so large and so tall before me that it block out everything as far as the eye could see and I even strain my neck looking upwards to find the summit.
But when I engaged with community residents I quickly realized that they took this amazing treasure for granted and were reluctant to consider new ideas. In fact, many in the community were quite unwelcoming and I recall one resident asking: “what I wanted and why didn’t I go back to the city in the north where I had come from?”
But there was something magical about the mountain that had captured my spirit from the first hello. It held me spellbound and there was no turning back. So I arranged to climb the mountain – and what an experience that was. While most people do the climb and get back to base in 4 hours, it took me all of 7 hours and much encouragement from the community’s president and my trusty Sherpa – Mervin the Mountain Goat .
Two weeks later I invited the Mountain Goat to come climb the mountain with me – my way, and for this he’d have to meet me up north in the city. This was a 30 mile drive away from his home in Fond Gens Libre, and my way of scaling the mountain was with a helicopter!
We met up at the St Lucia Helicopters helipad where I had booked an hour of private helicopter time to shoot pictures of Saint Lucia’s world famous Pitons. One of these mountains was Gros Piton, which was the same mountain we had scaled a few weeks before. Mervin who had never been in an aircraft to this point was blown away by the views from above and when we crested a ridge 8 minutes after take-off and his community came into view he exclaimed in sheer amazement: “…eh eh, look at my home down there!”
Mervin returned to Fond Gens Libre and couldn’t stop talking about how for the first time ever he climbed the Gros Piton in 15 minutes – without even breaking a sweat! And so it was that Mervin’s adventure gained me a measure of tolerance in the community as he was suddenly my staunchest defender.
By now I was totally enthralled with the community and so began my deep research about the place and the people. I learnt that the name Fond Gens Libre translates from our local Kwéyòl into Valley of the FREE People, as this was an enclave that escaped slaves made their stronghold hundreds of years ago. They always considered themselves free people rather than ex-slaves and the name is a beautiful testimony to this sense of freedom.
As I continued researching, I discovered that in 1795 a mulatto ex-slave – sorry – Freedom Fighter named Flore Bois Galliard led a rebellion that defeated the British troops attempting to capture Saint Lucia from the French. Galliard was a phenomenal military strategist skilled in guerilla warfare. With the support of her troops she outfoxed, outflanked, outmaneuvered and ultimately defeated the British who would have re-instated slavery on the island had they won.
Galliard led her troops from Fond Gens Libre and her decisive victory resulted in a year of unfettered freedom due to Saint Lucia remaining under the control of the French who have abolished slavery by decree of 1794. As a result of remaining French, blacks and mulattoes who could read & write were allowed to head some municipalities. These free people of colour enjoyed the civil liberty and political equality afforded all French citizens by the French Constitution. Many found themselves working alongside whites as equals as was enshrined in the French constitutional decree of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
As I continued my research, I also discovered that the Kalinago who inhabited Saint Lucia before the arrival of the Europeans, may have worshipped the Pitons as their gods. Gros Piton would have been YOKAHU – their god of volcanic mountains, the sun, fire, thunder and food, with Petit Piton being ATABEYRA – the goddess of fertility, the moon, tides and moving water. While Saint Lucia is famously known for it’s twin peak Pitons, talk to anyone from Fond Gens Libre and they will tell you that there is also Piton Mitant, or the Middle Piton. But hardly anyone outside the community and its environs know this open secret.
Interestingly, Kalinago petroglyphs suggest that these peoples may have associated the Pitons with the family unit of father, mother and child in addition to worshipping them as their gods. In this rare view of Saint Lucia’s Pitons as seen from the ocean the significance of the Middle Piton becomes evident. This image affords us the same view the sea faring Kalinago would have had as they returned from sea in their canoes. They could have seen the three peaks as mother, child and father when viewed from left to right. Petite Piton, the mother on the left is shorter and not as massive as Gros Piton, the father on the right, while the smaller Piton Mitant in the middle is the offspring flanked by protective parents.
The Three Pitons canvas is a celebration of my stunning discovery of the Middle Piton; a discovery that came from me inviting Mervin the Mountain Goat to come climb Gros Piton my way!
In 2004 The Pitons of Saint Lucia were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their “Outstanding Universal Value”. They are 1 of only 9 naturally occurring UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the entire Caribbean.
There Are 5 Ways To Print These Images:
- PREMIUM GLOSSY PHOTO PAPER
Premium Glossy Photo Paper are high quality, professional paper-prints.
Sharp, Vivid and rich Color sets this apart from a casual photo print.
You’ll feel like you’re there.
Premium Glossy Photo Paper will last a long time.
This option is available in 8×10 inches, 11×14 inches or 16×20 inches.
They are designed to be placed in a glass frame, which can be purchased separately (starting at a few dollars at your local Target or online).
- READY TO HANG VIBRANT CANVAS
Ready to Hang Canvas are ready to hang right out of the box with zero assembly required. Ultimate convenience.
Gorgeous finished look. It comes out of the shipping box finished and ready to hang with a simple nail in the wall.
Canvas Prints are a well-known, high-end way of displaying photographs.
1.5 inch thick wooden stretcher-bars that give it shape, in the same way an oil painting is traditionally assembled. There are no staples or ugly lines visible on the sides (very important).
Estimated delivery time for printing, assembling, packing and shipping is around 10 days.
- READY TO HANG VIBRANT CANVAS 3 PANEL SPLITS
This is for larger pieces, and the photograph is split into 3 even panels, 3 separate canvas panels which put together make a single large image.
This gives a modern look, and allows spectacularly large sizes on your wall!
- STUNNING ALUMINUM METAL PRINTS
Create elegant wall decor that shines with high-end, exclusive and unique aluminum metal prints.
Create a polished addition to any home or office. 3/64″ thick aluminum panel. Features a glossy coating and rounded edges.
UV resistant ink prevents fading. All metal sizes are ready to hang on your wall, right out of the box.
- VIBRANT ACRYLIC PRINTS
Create eye-catching home decor with modern acrylic prints. Light refracts through the museum-quality acrylic bringing vibrancy and depth to your photos. The .22″ thick clear acrylic produces superb image quality from edge to edge and absolutely stunning, brilliant color!
UV resistant ink prevents fading. All metal sizes are ready to hang on your wall, right out of the box
Print Sizes & Prices (U$)
|Glossy Paper - 8 x 10||55.00|
|Glossy Paper - 11 x 14||75.00|
|Glossy Paper - 16 x 20||135.00|
|Canvas - 16 x 20||250.00|
|Canvas - 12 x 36||350.00|
|Canvas - 24 x 36||500.00|
|Canvas - 30 x 40||800.00|
|Canvas - 24 x 72 (3 Panel)||1250.00|
|Canvas - 36 x 72 (3 Panel)||1500.00|
|Canvas - 40 x 90 (3 Panel)||2500.00|
|Aluminum - 16 x 20||750.00|
|Aluminum - 24 x 36||1500.00|
|Aluninum 30 x 40||2250.00|
|Acrylic 16 x 20||750.00|
|Acrylic 24 x 36||1500.00|
|Acrylic 30 x 40||2250.00|
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