MOKO JUMBIES: THE DANCING SPIRITS OF TRINIDAD.; Photographs by Stefan Falke. Design by Stafford Cliff. Preface by Geoffrey Holder. Introduction by Earl Lovelace. Interviews by Laura Anderson Barbata. Production by Ian Hammond. Managing editor Jane K. Creec.
New York: Pointed Leaf Press, 2004. color plates, ports., illust. endpapers, color pict. boards, color pict. d.j. Item #117442
Contemporary artist Laura Anderson Barbata's (Sinaloa, Mexico 1958, lives and works in Brooklyn and Mexico City) work uses art and performance to encourage social justice by documenting traditions and involving communities in her practice. In 2002, while working as an artist-in-residence in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbata was introduced to the founder of the Keylemanjahro School of Arts and Culture in Port-of-Spain. The school hosted an after school stilt dancing program open to all kids, intended to keep children out of trouble while also engaging them in the cultural tradition of stilt dancing to prepare for the annual NCBA Junior Carnival Parade. Barbata worked with Keylemanjahro for 5 years alongside the students and parents to create costumes for their performances. The group worked with little to no resources and relied exclusively on the help of parents in the neighborhood. The children had been creating their costumes by painting their bodies with toxic house paint. Additionally, students participated in carnival with the same presentation every year, which excluded them from competing for character awards. Barbata suggest that the children could develop and create their own costumes to learn about the environment and other cultures, and worked with Keylemanjahro to discuss possible themes and design of characters for the kids to portray and compete. "Seventeen years ago, Glen "Dragon" de Souza founded the Keylemanjahro School of Arts and Culture on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. The school's mission was to revive the almost-forgotten West African tradition of the Moko Jumbie, or "dancing spirit" and adopt stilt-walking into the annual Carnival celebration."--Book jacket. CONTENTS: Preface / Geoffrey Holder -- Introduction / Earl Lovelace -- Painted parade -- Blue -- Kaleidoscope -- Red -- Carnival -- School registry -- Acknowledgments.