The National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago in collaboration with the Caribbean Yard Campus launched an exhibition at its Search Room depicting Carnival of Long Ago. The exhibition, which showcases the designs of master artiste Leighton James, will run from February 20 to March 10, 2017.
Leighton James, now 76 years of age (born 1940), has lived life as an inventor, masman, composer of songs, mainly calypso, sculptor, tuner and raconteur. The sculptural installation, Carnival of Long Ago, which he considers his magnum opus, bears testimony to his lifelong dedication to art, culture and history, and his home-grown, extraordinary skills in painting and sculpture, and masquerade design.
This exhibition is an installation of approximately 180 wooden figures depicting the drama of Carnival in the 50’s and early 60’s, with all its tradition, humour, grandeur and spectacle. The exhibition will feature historical mas, mas on truck, Warahoons, Dame Lorraine, and Fancy Sailors. Carnival bands and characters, pan, tambu bamboo, and other cultural traditions will also form part of the exhibition.
Previously mounted at the Barataria Sports Complex in 2002 and at Piarco International Airport in 2003, the exhibition will be mounted in Port of Spain for the first time complemented by storyboards on the history of mas and pan produced by the National Archives, as well as historical records. Given its three-dimensional nature and representation, the installation presents a golden opportunity to impart knowledge of our early Carnival mas and pan history in an innovative way, particularly to young people.
The National Archives will also host two (2) conversations with masters and elders from the mas and pan fraternity, which will be facilitated by the Caribbean Yard Campus, on March 2 and March 9, 2017. These conversations will capture valuable oral history on the story of Carnival and will be held in the National Archives’ Conference Room cor. New and St. Vincent Streets, Port of Spain.
In photo (l-r) above, Makemba Kunle of Caribbean Yard Campus, Government Archivist, Avril Belfon, Artist Leighton James and Rawle Gibbons also of Caribbean Yard Campus.