¡Carnaval! overview photo


  • Duration:Temporary
  • Location:Campbell Gallery

(date) 4/6/2012–8/11/2012

This exhibition provides windows into eight communities in Europe and the Americas where carnival is a high point of the yearly cycle. ¡Carnaval! features individuals who have dedicated much of their lives to planning, creating, and carrying out the festivities. Images, video, costume pieces, and masks from their performances relate the history and cultural traditions, while conveying the importance and function of community building through play.

From the earliest known incarnations in 12th-century Rome through the present, carnival season has allowed participants to play. Rich or poor, young or old—all break loose, often in unusual ways. In Laza, Spain, celebrants might throw dirt and ants at neighbors. On the other side of the Atlantic, in Recife, Brazil, throngs gather to play frevo music or dance the passo, while in Tlaxcala, Mexico, men dress as French dandies and perform a burlesque dance. In New Orleans, the famed Mardi Gras krewes don outlandish costumes and parade the streets.

The exhibition has been made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This exhibit was curated by Barbara Mauldin, Ph.D., curator of Latin American Collections, Museum of International Folk Art. The exhibition is toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance through NEH on the Road.