En Mas’: Exhibition on Caribbean Carnivals


En Mas’ is an exhibition on Caribbean Carnival and masquerading traditions to be held from March 7 to June 7, 2015, at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, Louisiana. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication entitled En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean including critical essays, monographic texts and extensive illustrations.

The exhibition focuses on the influence Carnival and related masquerading traditions in the Caribbean and its diasporas have had on contemporary performance discourse and practice. Bringing together photographic and filmic interpretations as well as material remnants or reconstitutions from the performances, the exhibition will also present some of the best photographers, filmmakers and videographers working in the region today. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for this information.]

Description: EN MAS’ is a pioneering exploration of the influences of Carnival on contemporary performance practices in the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Conceived around a series of nine commissioned performances realized during the 2014 Caribbean Carnival season across eight cities in six different countries, the exhibition considers the connections between Carnival and performance, masquerade and social criticism, diaspora and transnationalism. Taking its title from a pun on “Mas” (short for masquerade and synonymous with carnival in the English-speaking Caribbean), EN MAS’ considers a history of performance that does not take place on the stage or in the gallery but rather in the streets, addressing not the few but the many.

EN MAS’ presents performance practices that do not trace their genealogy to the European avant-gardes of the early twentieth century, but rather to the experiences of slavery and colonialism; the independence struggles and civil right movements; and the population migrations to and from former colonial centers during most of the last hundred years. The exhibition interrogates this history in light of today’s global forms of public address—from the resurgence of the Mardi Gras Indian and Social Aid and Pleasure Club traditions in post-Katrina New Orleans to carnivalesque protests.

Throughout the 2014 Caribbean Carnival season, EN MAS’ tracks nine artists as they engage, transform, or critique historical and contemporary Caribbean performance practices from Carnival in Santiago de los Caballeros, Port of Spain, Kingston, London and Miami to Junkanoo in Nassau, and in the New Orleans second line—or their own imaginary cartographies and invented traditions. Performances will take place according to different modes of public address and audience engagement including semi-private rituals at the margin of festival celebrations and street processions in the midst of carnival revelry. [. . .]

[Photo above: C Room, 2014 Nicolás Dumit Estévez. An 8 hour performance at Museo Folklórico Don Tomás Morel, Santiago de los Treinta Caballeros, Dominican Republic. Photo: Raymond Marrero © 2014 Nicolás Dumit Estévez]

For full report, see http://cacno.org/en-mas

Also see http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2014/06/en-mas-carnival-and-performance-art-of-the-caribbean; http://curatorsintl.org/exhibitions/en-mas; and http://www.transart.org/nicolas-dumit-estevez-en-mas-carnival-performance-art-caribbean

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