Monday, September 20, 2010

Taking T&T culture global

Brian Mac Farlane is sandwiched between a Pierrot and an exotic Blue Devil
 at the mas camp at Rosalino Street, Woodbrook. Photos: Shirley Bahadur

The Blue Devil and the Pierrot rank high among the slew of traditional mas characters contemporary T&T has created out of its colonial experience. Brian Mac Farlane, the recipient of the Chaconia Medal (gold) for Culture at the 2010 Independence awards at Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain, will be showcasing these two indigenous expressions of Carnival culture in India. On Tuesday, Mac Farlane and his assistant Maurice Chevalier were presented with their tickets by Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra. The duo will be heading to India, to conduct a Commonwealth Textile Exhibition: Cloths Power. On Thursday, at his Mas Camp, at Rosalino Street, Woodbrook, Mac Farlane presented the Blue Devil and Pierrot. Referring to it as an exotic Blue Devil, he said, “It would form part of the permanent display in India. Mac Farlane boasted, “It’s not the ordinary Devil. It is made of cotton and lycra. It is a full body suit.
“There is a lot of air brushing and patterns. It is two dimensional. “It has an East Indian appeal. I made use of the mirrors and the jewelled stones that Indians like to see in their fashion. It is elaborate.” True to form, masquerader Keston Benthum waved his menacing fork. Spurred on by his assistant who will also be visiting India, Pierrot appeared. Clad in voluminous fabrics, Pierrot, played by Celia Paul, cut an overdressed, yet sensual figure. Chevalier said: “It has a lot of costume, like the people during slavery, the people in the Caribbean started to parody their European masters. There are masks on the face.”  
  “Ready to showcase T&T fashion”
LEFT: Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra, left,
presents Brian Mac Farlane, with his tickets for his visit to India
 at a press conference
at the Indian High Commission, Victoria Street, Port-of-Spain.
Mac Farlane said he was humbled by his maiden visit to India. In 2007, he portrayed Boyie: The Story of India. When he gets to Delhi, Mac Farlane, assisted by Maurice Chevalier, will be conducting workshops on Carnival. Mac Farlane is expected to visit textile factories and the National Institute of Fashion. “These are A grade students that are studying fashion. I will talk about Claudia Pegus, and Meiling and what we have in the Caribbean world. “Some of the finest cotton fabrics come out of India. In the Caribbean, we wear a lot of the cotton fabrics. There is a high base of East Indians here. There is a nice link. How the fabrics are treated becomes a nice base for the exchange of students.
A release said: “In view of T&T government’s plan to promote the fashion industry and also in light of MOU signed between UTT and NIFT in May 2009, Mac Farlane will hold discussions with NIFT authorities to boost bilateral cooperation in the field of fashion designing. “He will also interact with students of NIFT and brief them about masmaking and costume design.” Mac Farlane advised his potential masqueraders that upon his return from India, he will be launching his 2011 presentation at Mobs 11, Chaguaramas. It will be entitled Humanity: Circle of Life in basic black and white.

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