Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Aubrey Beardsley at J'ouvert carnival 2009

Oh lawd, God give you dat

Copyright © 2009 Richard Bolai

A J'ouvert masquerader uses a classic Aubrey Vincent Beardsley illustration to take back the power of women whose likely parody are portrayed during carnival, Trinidad West Indies

The artist Adele Todd decided this j'ouvert to bring out a costume with a different twist. And by all means it was a ghastly large erect prosthetic penis attached to her pelvis. The costume was designed so that her manhood could swing, poke, provoke and tease any passerby who contemplated its girth. The reaction to this Aubrey Beardsley the examination of the harald were a mix of exultation by women and awe by men who felt necessary to compare themselves to it. The experiment Todd said was the underlining taboo which both women and men feel about sex, and of their inner urge expressed openly on the street by treating it, the penis as a symbol of fertility, pleasure and ritual respect.

Adele Todd on the streets of Port of Spain carnival Monday 2007, Trinidad and inciting excitement from all members of the society

This year I chose to go further into mas not seen much anymore. To understand how to portray ‘the box’ I spoke with Pearl Gomez-James on her memories. She was extremely insightful, and with a few alterations…no live cat for example… I pressed on with the creation of my performance. It is an essential part of the portrayal to include the text, “What caused the destruction of man?” This gets the audience to become curious to look inside the box that is being held aloft.

J'ouvert carnival 2010

A man looking inside the box…

Indeed I was more than pleasantly surprised that again people interacted with my costume in many ways. Some people assumed that they already had the answer and told me. For example, some people blurted out that woman was the cause or man was the cause of destruction. Others said that they were afraid and uncertain about peering into the box, and others still, were eager to see what the experience was as soon as they read the sign. I was honestly oblivious to ‘the box’ as sexual reference until I was approached by men who snickered and laughed aloud at the sign and the box itself.Unlike last year, this portrayal encouraged more familiarity with my person and I had to be quite firm to say no thank you, when someone wanted to push up on me. But fortunately this was not often.

At Green Corner, Port of Spain

The choice of black was to create a neutral palette from which to bounce off the box concept. Harking back to the monolith from 2001 A space odyssey, the box had to be the focal point. Overall, again I was very pleased with the response this year to this work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Quite amazing an idea from Adele.
She spoke to me of the 'idea', but the costume came out fantastically.
Considering all the domestic violence in T&T, I find the costume on a J'ouvert morning brings some 'respectability' to the male phallus.
In that, the way Adele plays it, it is fun, it is fanciful, it is imaginative...and in some way, a bit sexy. Her take on the Beardsley illustration was very well executed.
CONGRATS for a first!
Frances Chan


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