Photography is art.
That’s the simple premise and stimulation for The Photography Show, the first annual exhibit of photography where the lens is trained on the subject of Carnival. For the span of three weeks, the elegant white walls of Y Art Gallery in Woodbrook will showcase contemporary, documentary and fine art photography by seven locally-sourced and visiting visual artists.
According to Melissa Miller, co-curator, the show is “a celebration of people, space, culture, and mas in Trinidad.” Fine art photographer Abigail Hadeed, an accomplished documentarian with an extensive body of work on Carnival, is presenting a collection of exquisite black and white studies on archival paper of band members of The Warriors of Huracan led by Anderson Patrick.
Jamaican-born photographer Marlon James, who is distinguished by his thoughtfully composed portraits executed with well-measured illumination, invites your imagination to explore the aesthetic connection between space and mas. And the late Noel Norton, a national treasure, is represented by his prized collection of portraits of Peter Minshall’s bands. This show offers a glimpse into his coverage that forms the recently-released book Minshall by Norton.
The Norton legacy in photography in the Caribbean is preserved in the conceptual portraits by his daughter Christine Norton. Christine produces “humanist stories with photographs that explore complexity through photo clippings, textures, digital layering and writing,” with the intent to “share histories and everyday stories.” Her contribution to The Photography Show is a triptych of traditional characters that she “paste” onto weathered walls to affect street art scenes.
The Carnival theme is further articulated by visual storytellers associated with art books on the subject. Kevin Adonis Browne, who authored High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture, captures the spirit of the moko jumbie. While editorial and campaign photographer Sean Drakes, whose forthcoming book narrates his journey in the contemporary mas bands of Peter Minshall, shares a sliver of a vibrant collection from the mid-1990s presented in Havana, Cuba in a show curated by an editor for The Washington Post.
Kibwe Brathwaite, a commercial photographer by day and a maco with a camera by night, takes viewers ringside to the fiery battles staged by champions of a Carnival tradition for the national stickfighting finals. The Photography Show began on Saturday and runs until March 7.
Y Art Gallery is located 26 Taylor Street, Woodbrook. Get more details at Y Art Gallery on Facebook and @yartgarllerytt on Instagram.