Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 1st 2015 Contents A review by
A A A C
The assertive title of the latest
exhibition Mama Dis is Mas sets up
an expectation that it will point
viewers to a definition of T&T s
annual ritual of masquerade and
performance art. Yet, the show of
over 70 works unwittingly raised
more questions about the state of
Carnival rather than offering its own
consciously illuminating interpre-
tation of the subject matter.
A number of the artists featured
in the group exhibition presented cos-
tumed human figures as isolated ele-
ments, extracted from the throngs of
people---that heady context of crowd-
ed flesh, falling sweat and concen-
trated indulgence---usually associated
with Carnival revellry.
Ann Stapleton s Bottle n Spoon
was an acrylic rendering of three men
in a picture of percussion set against
a background of blue and yellow. Sim-
ilarly, Nazim Baksh s jab jab s cracked
their whips while his minstrels shook
their tambourines in paintings with
backdrops described in red, yellow,
orange and pink.
Martin Superville s Spirit of Dance
in oils and Jeffery
images of a blue
devil and jab jab
in white sur-
looks at such
characters as the
baby doll and
fancy Indian. The
space of the
gallery became the
setting for these
from a white,
these figures from
the Carnival com-
motion had the
effect of a sense of
the viewer access to
single portraits from
festival. These works
of Carnival in a man-
ner that, if asked
what is mas, one
might say: mas is
about the people. In
Noray s strong visuals
of sailor masqueraders
underscored the idea
that mas is to be found
in a facial expression, in
a body gesture, in the tilt
of a shoulder, the twist of an
ankle, the bend of a knee.
Generally, however, this exhibition
lacked variety and quickly became dull
and repetitive in its excessive display
of panmen, stickfighters, minstrels, jab
jabs and devils. The incorporation of
beach scenes was another hackneyed
feature of the show.
Is mas about monotony and pre-
Works by Samantha Rochard and Fay
Ann Ryan also demonstrated an unmis-
takable lack of understanding of human
anatomy and proportion.
Is mas now less about skill?
These questions feed into current
debates about waning creativity, feath-
er-and-bikini formulas for designing
costumes and disappearing skills in the
dramaturgy of Carnival. Do we know
mas when we see it? What can we call
Perhaps another way of reading this
show is to see it as positioned in bold
contrast to the rise of sequin-and-bead
manifestations of mas.
The show s merit might reside in its
foregrounding of aspects of Carnival
that are not often found in the lime-
light---in its nudge to look in the shad-
ows of the festival where we might
declare: that is mas!
Reggae will take centre stage on
March 26, when New Fire presents
two top T&T reggae bands, BuzzRock
and Mystic Elements.
New Fire is a series of shows at De
Nu Pub (formerly Mas Camp) featuring
local bands and musicians. The last
New Fire show, Canboulay, took place
before Carnival. The upcoming edition
of the show is called Fire, Gold & Green.
"New Fire continues with its mission
to develop the diverse, progressive music
movement in T&T," said event organiser
Gerry Anthony Williams via e-mail.
"Feature band BuzzRock will set the
stage alight with their enchanting roots
reggae sound in a lead up to the release
of their new album."
Mystic Elements has backed some
of the premier reggae artistes in the
world and this time around will feature
the reggae songbird Kushite and the
smooth, soulful voice of Black Loyalty,
said a press release on the show.
Fire, Gold & Green will be held at
De Nu Pub, corner French Street and
Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook. Doors
open at 8 pm and there will be a com-
plimentary drink for guests arriving
before 8.30 pm. Advance tickets cost
$60; the price at the door is $80.
, an art
exhibition, ran from u y
1 28 at the y A ,
corner of Warren and Rosalino
Call 4 2-7 16 or 788- 66, or go
to w on Facebook or
& Bu o . o , "B " ( u ), o y " o " u
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Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt
March 1, 2015
Mama, what is mas?
o o y o o y.
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