An Archipelago of Caribbean Masks By: Fiet , Lowell
Carnival in the Caribbean has mixed roots in colonialism and African tradition. Dressing in masquerade costumes with masks, feathers and headdresses, music, steel bands, dancing and drums all combine in a raucous and hedonistic celebration. Beyond the party however, carnival presents an opportunity for a deeper and more complex exploration of native culture. In An Archipelago of Caribbean Masks, Lowell Fiet, a critic-historian of theatre and performance, as well as a mask maker and performer, explores what the masks signify, what wearing them represents, their relation to character costumes and movement, on the one hand, and the celebratory traditions from which they emerge, on the other hand, their presumed metaphorical and discursive characteristics, and most importantly, who makes masks and how - their materials and form. Stunningly illustrated with primarily the author's photographs, the carnival mas and masks are presented less as costume and more as art form.