exhibit & texts
June 1, 2017
Each year, Jacmel holds pre-Lenten Mardi Gras Festivities. Troupes of performers act out mythological and political tales in a whorish theatre of the absurd that traverses the streets, rarely shackled by traditional procession. Mardi Gras in Jacmel is light years away from the sanitized corporate-sponsored tourist-driven carnivals around the world. There appears to be no set time, route or parade. One can wander a seemingly deserted street, turn a corner to find a group of cardboard masked solicitors and judges with chairs and a table seated in the middle of the road performing a play based on a French 19th century novel. Around another corner you might find a painted boy riding a donkey, which is wearing sneakers, trousers and speaking on a mobile phone. It is of carnival of flaneurs and meanderers, rather than marchers and processors.
(the Wandering Jew), sometimes called Patriarch Jerusalem, Ezekial or Hezekiah, incongruously dressed in Bishop’s mitre emblazoned with Masonic insignia, golden cloak and egungun stockings, carrying a crozier with which he often attacks the crowds…
dressed in mad military gear, said to be in mockery of the 19th century general Charles Oscar, with great buck teeth protruding from blood red lips.
We make Papier Maché animals. We make pink flamingos, pigeons, cows, alligators, tigers & lions, so that we represent animals that do exist in Haiti and those that don’t too. We both make all the animal masks and we also both go onto the street wearing the masks. There are three sets of characters, the animals, the hunters and the cowboys.
Kongo: Indians covered with mystic pwen and wearing mariwo skirts.
is a peasant and people say that peasants are like donkeys and they are very stupid. But we know that peasants are not stupid. That’s the reason we put the clothes, the pants, the shoes on the donkey to show that he is not stupid. He also has a cell phone to show everyone he is not stupid at all and he is as good as all the people that live in the town.
Men playing women: Men playing women hopelessly masculine trannies in ill-fitting prom.
UN Soldiers: pointing pistols at some hapless neg in burlap rags (a scenario too close for comfort on the streets of occupied Jacmel)
Anonymous mo: wandering unleashed on the streets in their tell-tale white hoods, some with cell phones, another clutching a bottle of Barbancourt rum, enfolded in the amorphous shroud of the zonbi who holds him from behind.