Sunday, August 07, 2011

Cultural legend Alwin Chow Lin On. Passes

On July 29th 2011 it was announced that the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival had lost yet another legend and patron of the culture, Alwin Chow Lin On.
The 1980’s produced some of the most iconic mas in the 20th century, with Peter Minshall and Wayne Berkley at the very summits of their creative powers the 1980’s and 90’s saw the harvesting of the very cream of the carnival crop, the fruit of mas traditions that erupted on the streets of Trinidad  in 1838.

Midnight Robber 1980
Man Crab 1983
There are three King’s of Carnival that came out of the 80’s that are probably the most iconic kings in the history of mas, Peter Samuel calls them the 3 M’s, ‘Midnight Robber’ (1980), ‘Man Crab’ (1983), and the ‘Merry Monarch’ (1987), these costumes are synonymous with the name Peter Minshall, but they also share in their construction the creative genius of a master technician, Alwin Chow Lin On.

Lin On’s work was so original and alien to what Trinidadians in the 80’s recognised as mas, that in 1983 when Minshall's ‘Man Crab’ hit the Savannah's stage those who did not know Chow Lin On thought the wizardry behind the construction, actually came from Japanese engineers Minshall had flown in.

Merry Monarch 1987
The son of a Sande Grande shop keeper, Alwin Chow Lin On became known due to his contributions to the Steelband movement via sponsorship and leadership of the Sande Grande Cordettes. He later became a president of Pan Trinbago.

Known among the mas fraternity as ‘ chine or chow lee’, his work has been seen and celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic, his understanding of mas, movement, structure and construction,  ensured that the most memorable, and original Kings and Queens of Trinidad  Carnival , would have the Chow Lin On  stamp on it, the most recent being the 2008 Queen of Carnival  ‘Yemaja  Orisha Goddess of the sea’, worn by Susan Low and designed by Shula Newwick, but constructed by Aldwn Chow Lin On.

Alwin Chow Lin On’s funeral took place on Friday 5th of August 2011 at the St Finbar’s R.C Church Mon Coco road at 10am.  His contributions to the culture of Trinidad and Tobago and its Global expansion will never be forgotten. 
Here’s to Aldwin Chow Lin On, thank you for the mas, and may you rest in peace. 

Alwin Chow Lin On  1935 - 2011.
“There is something called creative paradoxes, 
and if you understand what that means, about the magic quality, 
that energy between the performing and the audience. 
Then we will know what we’re talking about, when we’re being
 artistic and putting art out for you to enjoy and us to enjoy, 
that's all I want”.
Alwin Chow Lin On (30/04/1935) – (29/07/2011)

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