The international traveling exhibition “EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean” will be featured at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands from Jan. 15 to March 26.
EN MAS’ is a pioneering exploration of the influences of Carnival on contemporary performance practices in the Caribbean, North America, and Europe, according to a press release.
Conceived around a series of commissioned performances across six countries, the exhibition considers the connections between Carnival and performance, masquerade and social criticism, 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 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,” Natalie Urquhart, NGCI director, said in a press release. “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 USA), Marlon Griffith (Trinidad), Hew Locke (UK), Lorraine O’Grady (USA), Ebony G. Patterson (Jamaica) and Cauleen Smith (USA).
The exhibition is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Additional support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and by the Institut français in support of African and Caribbean projects. The exhibition debuted at CAC New Orleans in spring 2015.
The exhibition was curated by Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson; organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans and Independent Curators International, New York.
Admission is free, and guided tour bookings are available. For a series of other screenings, lectures and educational programs related to this exhibition, email [email protected] or visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.