Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen

Posted on 01/25/2014


Photo taken on November 17, 2012



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ROM
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Royal Ontario Museum
Trinidad and Tobago
Bloor Street
carnival masks
Sheol
Brian Mac Farlane
Trinidad
Toronto
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museum
carnival
Canada
folk art
costume
Fabric art
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masks


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Photo replaced on January 25, 2014
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Sheol – Royal Ontario Museum, Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario

Sheol – Royal Ontario Museum, Bloor Street, Toronto, Ontario
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a museum of world culture and natural history based in Toronto, Ontario. It is one of the largest museums in North America, attracting over one million visitors every year.

This exhibit entitled "Carnival – From Emancipation to Celebration" presented a selection of costumes from Brian Mac Farlane’s creations for the Trinidad Carnival from 2010 to 2012. Mac Farlane is a major Carnival artist from Trinidad and Tobago, whose designs and installations have dazzled and inspired people all over the world. Mac Farlane’s last three seasons were inspired by an historical reflection on traditional Carnival characters and their ability to embody broader social and political issues.

In the 18th century, enslaved Africans were banned from Christian festivities of the French and British colonists. They held their own celebrations in barrack yards and, after the 1834 abolition of slavery was fully implemented in the Caribbean in 1838, the freed Africans together with people of Asian origin took their Carnival to the street. The red and black costume above is entitled Sheol – the term describing the underworld abode of the dead in the Hebrew Bible. Red, black, and white are the colours of the Trinidad and Tobago flag. They reflect the artist’s deep sense of concern over the social and political problems affecting his country. Depicting departed and lost souls, Sheol is a costume that represents inner turmoil, a commentary on the troubles of modern society.

The exhibition also commemorated John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada (as Ontario was known then). Simcoe abolished slavery in Upper Canada in 1793 – some 40 years before it was done away with elsewhere within the British Empire.

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