Welcome to Blogging de Carnaval 2015 (BdC 2015). I suspect you all thought this wouldn’t happen didn’t you. I have been off the blog post for some time, but I have never left photography or my culture. And I am pleased to say that the site traffic has not died down on this space, and I sometimes get phone or email enquiries from a variety of people trying to connect with artists and artisans of the carnival world. After carnival (a phrase that has been repeated until it is worn like an old PTSC bus) I will update you on my other cultural adventures (including visiting the Maroon homestead, Accompong Town, in Jamaica) and photographic pursuits (calendars, shooting projects, exhibits). But for this moment, let’s start things off right.
“Se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki.”
Literally translated it means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot”.
Sankofa, the Adinkra symbol of the Akan people, from what is known today as Ghana, “teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated”.*
I’ve been telling folks this blog series is three years old, but I under estimated myself. This is my fifth year blogging de carnaval! I give thanks to the creative spirit and my ancestors, the people who gave me life, the people who survived against unthinkable odds and immense hardships in order for me to exist. I’m especially grateful as always for those from whom I inherit my creativity, my love of “mas” and people who have done or not done something to create a space for this work to happen. If you’d like to check out the previous four seasons of BdC have a look here, here, here and here.
Our opening image is personal and fitting to the blog series. These costumes are from this year’s kiddies carnival, from our very own band Godmothers International in La-Brea. The band was started by my sister and this year’s costumes are designed by me. The portrayal is Remember, focused on the Yoruba tradition of Egungun, one which has undoubtedly influenced our mas in Trinidad carnival. Egungun are central to way the Yoruba place importance in remembering and venerating their ancestors. It is believed that people gain wisdom and blessings from doing so and one way this manifests is during the Egungun festivals. We invite our children in this band to remember an African history that influences us in Trinidad, but also to remember their own heritage, customs and values, to ask parents and grandparents about ancestors. The main individual, pictured in the foreground is entitled Memory with Love, accompanied by two sections of musicians (boys) and women who remember (and keep traditions and families) (girls).
Parts of the costume were created in the amazing Propaganda Space in Belmont by The Cloth team led by Robert Young. You can follow the developments of this little band here on Facebook.
More to follow in the coming days. And I promise, less words more pictures. In the meantime, during the most wonderful time of the year