Sunday, March 26, 2006

Laura Anderson Barbata

Laura Anderson Barbata's small storage room overlooks the yards and alleys of Cocorite, Trinidad. An artist who lives in New York and Mexico City, she designes the carnival band and individual costumes for the Dragon Keylemanjahro School of Arts and Culture, which is located right below her window. Strange animals patiently wait outside for their trek to Trinidad's capital Port of Spain, where they will participate in the annual festivities, or as they say, 'play mas'.

They are part of the 2006 carnival band 'Dancing to Africa' which Laura has designed for the stiltwalking or Moko Jumbies school, and together they have won countless awards for their outstanding costumes and appearences over the past few years.
'Dancing to Africa' includes the Moko Jumbies portrayal of a group of Massai Warriors, who, needless to say, come along on stilts.

From Laura's scetch book to the real thing takes a lot of work on the costumes and long hours of practice for the Moko Jumbies. This is the 2006 Queen 'Oya' (a sacret word of peace), portrayed by sixteen year old Ria Walters.

The stunning horse like Moko Jumbie 'Zarma' performs on 2.5 ft stilts. It is designed by Laura Anderson Barbata and Ronald Guy James, at whose workshop in St. james most of the costumes are being produced. Twelve year old Moko Jumbie Romario Beggs amazed spectators and costume builders alike with his great talent to make this 'Zarma' work.

Laura Anderson Barbata's vita
Community Projects in Trinidad and Venezuela by Laura Anderson Barbata

I had the pleasure to document Laura's work for quiet some time now, mostly with the Dragon Keylemanjahro School of Art & Culture, and many of her costumes are published in the book MOKO JUMBIES: The Dancing Spirits of Trinidad.

This, by the way, is Laura Anderson Barbata's reaction to anything Mexican !!

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