Remarks by NGC President, Mr. Mark Loquan

In the cultural meccas of Europe, art is one of the biggest tourist attractions. Entire histories can be traced through the works of painters and sculptors and architects. Studying this art gives unparalleled insight not only into the artists and their subjects, but the culture, beliefs and attitudes of eras past.

As a people, we in Trinidad and Tobago are sadly not as appreciative of the historical and academic value of our art. Consider, in particular, how relatively little attention is given to preserving our most impressive and distinctively Trinbagonian artworks – the masquerades of our Carnival.

The challenge with celebrating and studying mas as an artform is that it is short-lived. It parades on stage for a brief time before being retired to a corner or dismantled and discarded. However, through a photograph, the art of a mas-man can live beyond one Carnival season. That is why this publication that marries mas-maker and picture-taker is such an important one, and why we at NGC are so happy to see it finally launched.

Peter Minshall is a legend of Trinidad Carnival. His work has consistently interrogated, introspected and challenged. He has pushed limits, creating mas that defied people’s expectations of mas. His body of work constitutes a running commentary on the evolution of our country and humanity on the whole. In many ways, Minshall is more than an artist – he is a poet, a thought leader, a revolutionary.

To capture the story of Minshall mas from inception through more than thirty years of innovation is no small task. A lesser storyteller than Noel Norton might have faltered, but Norton had the talent and passion to keep pace. Like Peter Minshall, Noel Norton was a master of his craft. He was a premier Carnival photographer, a stage side fixture with his camera, documenting a history we are now able to engage.

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