New Mardi Gras exhibit examines the symbols of the masking tradition


NEW ORLEANS— The masking culture of the Mardi Gras Indians has been happening for over a century, but the concepts covered in these expressions of beautiful art has evolved.

Ron Bechet and Kim Vaz-DeVille, Ph.D. co-curated the new exhibit Mystery in Motion at the Louisiana State Museum. In a sense, the show connects the dots on some of the influences of the masking tradition.

Kim Vaz-DeVille, co-curator of Mystery in Motion at the Presbytere (WGNO-TV)

Vaz-Deville says, “In the 1960’s black pride became something that was so celebrated among African Americans and they began to conscientiously look to their African roots and that also meant looking to African spirituality.”

The multi-media exhibit also features footage of celebrations form the motherland. The resemblance of some of the suit details and use of drums is uncanny. Spirituality is also explored the masking tradition.

Vaz-Deville, explains, Kalinda Laveaux is a VooDoo Queen and she has created the Mystic Seven Sisters These women tap into the historic voodoo practices that are the heritage of Louisiana voodoo. This exhibit is about reading those symbols that people have taken an enormous amount of time to construct into their suits”

Mystery in Motion will stay at the museum through November. I will then head to Paris as part of a larger exhibit.


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