Transart faculty member Nicolás Dumit Estévez is featured in EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean, an international project including a series of commissioned performances realized during the 2014 Caribbean Carnival season and an exhibition opening at Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in Spring 2015.
Exploring the influences of Caribbean masquerade traditions on contemporary performance practice and discourse worldwide, EN MAS’ presents a history of performance rooted in the experiences of slavery, colonialism, independence struggles and diasporic migration as opposed to the dominant European avant-garde narrative of performance history. The exhibition title is a wordplay on “Mas,” shorthand for masquerade and synonymous with carnival in the English-speaking Caribbean, as well as “en masse,” as in all together; thus the show considers a history of performance set in the streets as opposed to on the stage or in the gallery, a performance by and for many as opposed to a few.
EN MAS’ includes commissioned performances by nine artists engaging with Caribbean performance practices and working in eight cities in six different countries, from Carnival in Santiago de los Caballeros to second line parades in New Orleans. The exhibition presents photography, film and other material related to the performances and considers the connections between Carnival and performance, masquerade and social criticism, as well as diaspora and transnationalism.
Curated by Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson, EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean will be accompanied by an eponymous publication co-published by Independent Curators International (ICI) and Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans (CAC) and including critical essays, monographic texts and extensive illustrations.
Born in 1967 in the Dominican Republic, Estévez lives and works in the Bronx borough of New York City. He is an interdisciplinary artist inspired by the quotidian and working in performance and mixed media installations. Estévez’s work has been exhibited widely throughout the New York City area at venues including P.S.1/Clocktower Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Cynthia Broan Gallery, Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Arts Center, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Queens Museum of Art, The Newark Museum, Dixon Place, P.S.122, Exit Art, Cuchifritos, HEREart and Smack Mellon.