This work came out of my experience as a research assistant to the late UC Davis anthropologist and art historian Daniel Crowley. I accompanied him to Guinea-Bissau to research the art associated with the 1987 carnival. This event involves the entire community, but the main creators of the masks and performances are children between the ages of 12-17. The research focused on the sources and inspiration behind these masks. The carnival has a component that is educational in addition to being an anticipated yearly celebration and artistic competition. The theme that year was “immunization” as the newly independent country was trying to improve health care. This theme appears in the form of syringes that crop up on some of the masks and posters. Those wearing the masks became living characters in the celebration and interacted with spectators in an exciting way. The expressions of joy associated with carnival traditions around the world are evident here in the attention to costumes, body and hair decorations which reflect the particular sensibilities of the people of Guinea-Bissau.
Silver Gelatin Prints on 11x14" paper