Barbara Mauldin is Curator of Latin American Art, Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Designer David Mayo is Director of Exhibitions, UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, California.
Organized by the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico and UCLA’s Fowler Museum, the exhibition included colorful, exuberant celebrations from Laza, Spain, Venice, Italy, Basel, Switzerland, Tlaxcala, Mexico, Oruro, Bolivia, Recife and Olinda, Brazil, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and New Orleans, Louisiana. Each location was represented by mannequins dressed in carnival costumes and presented against a photographic backdrop showing its celebration. Videos of each celebration accompanied the exhibition.
In Laza, Spain, carnival is Entroido. Medieval customs survive with the plays performed with music and dance and revelers throwing buckets of ashes, flour and water at one another.
Carnival returned to Venice in the 1980s. Costumes and gondola parades are its hallmarks.
Fasnacht is observed the week after the beginning of Lent in Protestant Basel, Switzerland with fife and drum troupes and costumes designed around themes of social criticism.
Revelers in Tlaxcala, Mexico’s Carnaval go from house to house performing quadrilles and poking fun at the country’s European colonizers.
Offerings are made to the Andean gods and devotions are made to the Virgin Mary in Oruro, Bolivia .
Recife and Olinda, Brazil continue to celebrate carnival in the European manner. Costumes and choreography can also be inspired by African, Brazilian, and Indian myth.
Mas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago is a chance for everyone to dance through the town.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a series of public parades and private balls put on by groups called krewes. New Orleans ‘ minority community’s Indians present an alternative celebration wearing elaborate costumes.
¡CARNIVAL! was accompanied by a book of the same name edited by Barbara Mauldin.