By Marcia Braveboy
News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Weds. March 29, 2023: The PANTHEON Exhibition in Trinidad was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020, and frustrating restrictions that crippled Carnival and the world.
This year, the first PANTHEON Exhibition post COVID and on the heels of the first major Trinidad and Tobago carnival was held on Sunday March 12th to Sunday 19th March, at Mille Fleur, one of the magnificent seven buildings around the Savannah in Port of Spain.
Curator and creator, Rubadir Victor, resumed the reinforcing, persistent and motivational work of showcasing the phenomenal costumes of the Kings and Queens of Carnival.
Carnival lovers, creators of the mas and citizens and children from across Trinidad and Tobago, continue to salivate over this exhibition, even after the first major Carnival event was held on February 20 and 21, 2023 for the first time without any COVID-19 restrictions
Many are spellbound not because it is the first of its kind in T&T’s Carnival history or that the exhibition was born out of a crippling pandemic but over the creativity of the Kings and Queens costumes and the intellectual presentations of why Carnival and the mas is so valuable to societies worldwide.
Citizens of T&T are still embracing the exhibition, weeks after carnival 2023, which saw mas creation slowly returning to a stronger sense of traditional mas.
Children have attended with their parents as well as tourists, mas creators and many other people from different walks of life were there.
Fiona Coomber was one among scores of visitors who visited and absorbed the exhibition on Saturday 18th March, the seventh day of the showcase. She said more people need to see and appreciate all the hard work that go into the magnificent structures.
“I think it should be regular, every year, everybody should be able to see it; I think the creativity is extraordinary, it is magnificent, and I really think the whole world should know about it,” said Coomber, a British white woman of Caribbean parentage, about PANTHEON the Exhibition.
She hopes that a space can be developed to at least house miniature versions of the costumes, as a way of preserving their significance for some time and maybe add just one giant size structure, since it is not practical to find the space required for several large sized costumes.
Coomber said while it is not possible to house 50 years of Kings and Queens costumes, but she does see value in replicating the finished pieces into miniatures, and save that, so one can see the evolution of ideas to help assist the continued creation of mas costumes. She finds it heart breaking that they get destroyed immediately after Carnival events and one wild weekend.
Additional to the PANTHEON the Exhibition, were large screens and technological darkroom display of a history of traditional mas in Trinidad and Tobago.
PANTHEON the exhibition will be back in 2024 Victor told NAN news and promised to continue working with stakeholders, to find an adequate space to house the Kings and Queens costumes.