Carnival comes to the National Gallery

| 08/01/2016
Cayman News Service

Performance piece by Nicolás Dumit Estévez of the Dominican Republic (Photo by Raymond Marrero)

(CNS): The international travelling exhibition, “EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean”, will open at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) on 15 January, running through 26 March. EN MAS’ explores the influences of Carnival on contemporary performance practices in the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Conceived around a series of commissioned performances across six different countries, the exhibition considers the connections between Carnival and performance; masquerade and social criticism; and diaspora and transnationalism. Its title comes from a pun on “Mas” (short for masquerade and synonymous with Carnival in the English-speaking Caribbean).

EN MAS’ takes a look at the 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. The exhibition introduces performance art with a focus on the influence that Carnival and related masquerading traditions in and of the Caribbean and its diasporas have had on contemporary performance discourse and practice, in both the artistic and curatorial realms.

“Carnival has a long history in our islands and we are excited to host EN MAS’ as the first venue on its regional tour,” said Natalie Urquhart, NGCI director. “The nine artists featured in the exhibition have created a series of contemporary performances that draw on the tradition of Carnival as a vehicle for social commentary, while bringing contemporary performance practice into the wider public arena.

“We hope the exhibition will be well received by our diverse audiences and that it will encourage dialogue about the role that Carnival can play in contemporary Caymanian art practice.”

Featured artists include John Beadle (Bahamas), Charles Campbell (Jamaica), Christophe Chassol (France), Nicolás Dumit Estévez (Dominican Republic and US), Marlon Griffith (Trinidad), Hew Locke (UK), Lorraine O’Grady (US), Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaica) and Cauleen Smith (US).

The exhibition is made possible through an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award, with additional backing provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Institut français in support of African and Caribbean projects. The exhibition debuted at the Contemporary Arts Centre New Orleans in the spring of 2015.

NGCI members are invited to an opening reception on 14 January, starting at 6pm. Admission to the exhibition is free with guided tour bookings available.

For information on other screenings, lectures and education programmes related to this exhibition, email the National Gallery or visit its website.

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Category: Arts

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