Mingling traditional Carnival elements with novel ideas, Peter Minshall goes chic to chic with upper crust art.
Art has its share of uncredited heroes and this film assesses the heft of a Trinidadian artist’s refreshing point of view of the perils of man’s incompleteness.
It is about a designer’s hubris to author a new word in art, “Mas ” (which overrides masquerade), to counteract the conformity and conservatism of Carnival in the 1970s. It’s about Peter Minshall reinventing Mas as a cutting edge tool to enlighten spectators about the complexities of life – a bold move that, in due course, influences the Olympic Games to feature him as an artistic director in Barcelona, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
There are so many textures to Peter Minshall’s Carnival art, they all tie into a story line that essentially captures his muse, flair for costumery, as well as the enigma of a man whose main job seems to open confrontation between good and evil against the backdrop of the celebrations. His calling, as such, isn't so much about being playful in the Mas as much as it is to awaken themes about modern humanity that not only display a curious slant in art but also inform audiences that are privileged to discern his work.
The film examines Minshall’s life and art, a tapestry woven from multiple threads that include his “masography” coursing through 26 years; his design and stage acumen (documented in the 2006 presentation “The Sacred Heart”); his Olympic Games contribution; the Carnival stage (the Mas) in Trinidad preparing him for the world stage (the Olympics); and his set pieces of political protest and entertainment provoking parallel emotions in major North American, European and Asian cities.