CARNIVAL: FROM EMANCIPATION TO CELEBRATION
Be dazzled by this vibrant display that features the costumes and artwork of Brian Mac Farlane, six-time winner of Trinidad and Tobago's Carnival. Respected worldwide, Mac Farlane's dazzling creations stun the eye and spark the imagination.
Represented will be select costumes, photographs and renderings from the last three years: Resurrection: The Mas (2010); Humanity: The Circle of Life (2011); and Sanctification…in Search of (2012). His themes evoke the broader symbolic and historical meaning of Carnival, which ties the Caribbean experience to our own Toronto Carnival.
Unbeknownst to many, Carnival is linked with the subject of emancipation. The festival dates to the 18th century, a time when enslaved Africans were banned from participating in pre-Lenten (Christian) festivities and masquerade balls organized by French and British colonists. As a result, they held their own celebrations in barrack yards and, after the 1834 abolition of slavery was fully implemented in the Caribbean in 1838, the freed Africans together with people of Asian origin took their Carnival to the street.
This exhibition connects the threads of the origins of Caribbean Carnival with those of the anniversaries of independence for Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Interestingly, the exhibition also extends the story of emancipation to Canada by commemorating John Graves Simcoe, Ontario's first Lieutenant Governor. Simcoe Day is celebrated in Ontario on the first Monday of the month of August. What many Ontarians do not know is that John Graves Simcoe abolished slavery in Ontario (then Upper Canada) in 1793 – some 40 years before it was abolished within the British Empire.
This exhibition is produced in collaboration with Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto.