So I’ve heard, carnival is over, but it’s okay to still blog about it. And I’ve also heard, I owe de people 7 (which I fully intend to offer up). So today I give you two thoughts: one is about how the master narrative is defined in today’s carnival – which leads to the absence of some elements, and the other is my simple formula: highlight an element of “we carnaval” and “we mas”.
First thought: Events such as the Nostalgia Parade, the Traditional Carnival Characters Festival, and the Dragon Festival populate the National Carnival Commission (NCC) schedule of events each year. I think it’s great. A photographer like me can go directly to those events and find all the “traditional carnival characters” I want. However, it bothers me that these elements of mas appear to have been relegated to these special events, cordoned off like zoo animals – rare, endangered, captive and not free to roam as they please on Carnival Monday or Tuesday. Of course, the NCC is to be given credit for doing something, to include them in the annual festival, albeit an artificial inclusion. But how is it that our carnival, once defined by free, rebellious people defining themselves through their mas, now need a special pulpit, a bligh, to own the streets? And the feathers and beads roam as the normal, as the master narrative of the day? Just a thought.
Taureg – built like a burrokeet, from Spoilt Rotten Kids 2011 presentation: Nomads
A mas that was hard to find this year was the Burrokeet. The word burrokeet comes from the Spanish burroquito – little donkey. The costume is made with a large skirt with reigns, legs and a donkey’s head attached at the top and an opening for the masquerader to put over his/her head. When worn it gives the appearance of someone riding a donkey decorated with a skirt. Burrokeet is attributed to Venezuelan and East Indian culture. Another figure, Soumaree, is very similar and attributed to East Indian culture as well.