In the heart of Trinidad's Carnival, memories sparkle like gems, and the vibrant feathers of costumes tell tales of laughter, music, and joy. Growing up, this lively tradition was etched in my childhood as my parents adorned our back porch with remnants of their Carnival costumes – headpieces, walking sticks, and memories woven in feathers. Carrying this tradition forward, I too hung my backpacks from Carnival costumes on my bedroom wall, a kaleidoscope of nostalgia and joy.
As time unfolded during the pandemic, the once-glorious backdrop of these festive times began to fade. The sun, unforgiving, devoured the shine of gems and sparklers, and the feathers, now covered in dust, lost their luster. The very symbols of celebration became a source of sinus issues. But tossing away these tokens of good times was not an option.
Having played mas since the tender age of 2, Carnival holds a special place in my heart. Determined to preserve these memories, I embarked on a creative journey. The idea struck as a means of both preserving and repurposing my cherished Carnival artifacts. I carefully tore apart the gems and feathers from my backpacks and headpieces, laying them out in a pattern that mirrored the rhythm of my heart.
With a glue gun in hand and a desire to breathe new life into my memories, I got to work. The spray paint from a previous project proved handy as I sprayed a pattern, listening to the whispers of my heart before securing the gems. Every piece, now a unique collage of memories, held a piece of the Carnival's soul.
In this process, I discovered the beauty of reusing and recycling instead of discarding. Trash, it seemed, could indeed be treasure. The worn-out gems and feathers, once destined for neglect, were now transformed into a vibrant tapestry that radiated the spirit of Carnival.
James Rosenquist once said, "Paintings are memories. Memories of the painter who painted them. Memories that can be shared as well. Paintings are things to remember things by." In my case, this makeshift masterpiece isn't just a canvas; it's a living testament to the joy, camaraderie, and cultural richness that Carnival brings. It's a celebration of memories, now artfully preserved, and a reminder that creativity can breathe new life into cherished moments.