The Mas: Costumes from Hartford’s West Indian Community exhibit showcases Trinidad-style carnival costumes (Mas) made by Hartford teens during the summer 2015 Mas Camp, the fifth year of a collaboration of the Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program (CHAP) and the Connecticut International Cultural Carnival Association (CICCA) under the direction of Linford “Junior” Miller. The colorful and elaborate costumes on display are similar to those worn in West Indian celebrations around the world, and were presented by the teens at Hartford’s Taste of the Caribbean Festival and the West Indian Parade this past summer.
The exhibit features costumes from teen participants, who had spent six weeks learning how to design and make the costumes under the guidance of master costume maker Keimani “Q” Delpeche, along with experienced assistants Larry Cooper and Tanya Bynoe and with several volunteer parents. Artistic director Harold Springer, dance teacher Clerona Cain, and dance assistant Asher-Lee Plummer trained the students in “displaying” their costumes in a parade. Each teen designed and built a complete costume, including headpiece, arm and foot bands, girdles, collars, backpacks, and all frames and attachments needed for wearing the elaborate structures.
This exhibition is sponsored by Ellen M. Brown. Additional support for the Mas Project was generously provided by the City of Hartford Arts and Heritage Jobs Grant for 2015, Pedro E. Segarra, Mayor, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the Institute for Community Research and the Connecticut Historical Society.
Ellen M. Brown