February- April, 2013

Port of Spain

The exuberant creativity, color, and pageantry that is Carnaval comes to the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art. The sights and sounds of Carnaval in New Orleans, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Trinidad, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland are on display in one of the Museum’s liveliest exhibitions ever. Costumes, headdresses, masks, musical instruments, plus videos of performances and parades, show the history and traditions of Carnaval, and its often outlandish and ribald behavior.

Carnaval is a rich tradition of partying before Lent’s 40 days of penance. In Carnaval everything shifts. The social order is overturned as masks and elaborate costumes conceal identities. The poor and powerless can become kings and queens for a day. Everyone - rich or poor, young or old - breaks loose in spectacular ways. Yet it is distinctly different in each region, and the Carnaval exhibition shows this diversity.

In Venice, Carnevale has flourished from the 12th century. On display are its elegant masks that are collected as works of art. In Brazil, huge crowds play frevo music and dance the passo. In Mexico, men dress as French nobility perform burlesque dances. In New Orleans, the famed Mardi Gras krewes work year round to prepare for their famous floats, costumes, music and parades.

This exhibition has been made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was curated by Barbara Mauldin, Ph.D., curator of Latin American Collections, Museum of International Folk Art, and is toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Opening Day Events, Saturday, February 2.

Opening Day visitors are welcome to wear Carnaval and Mardi Gras masks, costumes and medallions!

In addition to the four new exhibitions, a highlight of the day will be a fascinating and dynamic video documentary of festivities in each of the exhibition's eight regions and twenty-two more by Robert Jerome.

Mr. Jerome, an award-winning, internationally published travel photojournalist who specializes in topics related to folklore and culture, has photographed Carnaval in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean during the past thirty years.  “Carnaval represents a distillation of a particular culture’s customs and traditions, its native dress, its food, its music, its real spirit," notes Mr. Jerome, "Carnival is an invitation of the world to come celebrate what is special about a particular place.”

The video will be on big screen view from 2 to 4 PM in Studio 105, during the opening reception.