SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London


Photographs from the pre-lenten Mardi Gras in Jacmel, Haiti
by Leah Gordon
23 January - 19 March 2004

Jacmel, a small town on the southern coast of Haiti, holds a unique pre-Lenten carnival every year. Whatever it lacks in glitz and spectacle, it makes up for in homegrown surrealism and mythical metaphor. Different groups act out stoties that depict ancestral, historical, political and personal stories. The lives of the indigenous Taino Indians, the slaves revolt and more recently, state corruption, are all played out using drama and costume on Jacmel's streets.

2004 is the 200th anniversary of Haiti's slaves revolt and the creation of the first black republic in the New World. This set of photographs and stories from Jacmel are a tribute to Haiti's history, struggle and creativity. Leah Gordon has also collected oral histories from the group leaders which tell the stories behind the masques and help to both contextualise and animate the work. If you would like to see more works by Leah Gordon then please visit Works by Leah Gordon

There will be an accompanying lecture by Dr. John Cussans entitled Vodou, Possession and the Revolutionary Unconscious