NEW ORLEANS -- Bror Anders Wikstrom is "Bringing Fantasy to Carnival,” the title of the New Orleans Museum of Art's current Mardi Gras themed exhibition.
"He really elevated this idea that you can become anyone in Mardi Gras. You don these costumes and this fabulous persona. It doesn't have to be anyone real. It's just feathers and glitter and imagination," says New Orleans Museum of Art curator Mel Buchanan.
The Swedish immigrant who arrived in New Orleans in the 1800s had a huge influence on both the Krewe of Proteus and the Krewe of Rex, creating imaginative watercolor designs for floats and costumes.
"A, B, C, D is for Dragon, E is for Elegance, it's really fun to be able to see this entire row of floats all hung, triple hung, that’s three high on a wall," says Buchanan.
The crowning favorite might be "The Devil's Basket." You see this imposing devil figure tipping out a basket of vice. The basket is lined with playing cards and out pop the revelers with their glasses of champagne.
"I love it because right next to it, you have the earliest known photograph of a night parade in New Orleans. So you can see how this design that was pure fantasy was actually built and what it looked like illuminated by the flambeaux," says Buchanan.
Click here to learn more about the exhibition at NOMA.