MAS MAN is several possible movies synthesized into a description of
three decades of visual "synchronized wonderment". Dalton Narine’s story
telling is edifying and gratifying from the opening sounds of Trini Adesh
Samaroo's "Rajin Jeem Jeem Joom" to the closing by Bajan Allison Hinds'
"Roll it Gal".
Mr. Narine deftly integrates contextual commentary by Keith Smith,
Christopher Cozier, Meiling, Alwin Chow Lin On, Alyson Brown, Martin Daly,
Pat Bishop, David Rudder, Pelham Goddard, Sheila Rampersad, Milla Riggio and
other cognoscenti of the culture and arts of Trinidad and Tobago. But MAS
MAN is more than David Rudder "Trini to the Bone"; it's about "all ah we".
Peter Minshall should agree with that opinion given how his work is
depicted in this movie. In it one son reveals the depth of the indigenous
Mas artform born of our inherent collective self confidence and how it is
portrayed masterfully by his cultural brother.
The girls rolling it and showing it – all in carnival public – is
communal self empowerment. This exhibition of the real, un-synthetic
physical woman - we know them as our sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins and
daughters – could be transient and may be leading us to the next level of
Mas excellence. Consider what was masquerade in 1969 and the courage and
creativity of one Mas man.
[eCaroh/Ron - November 2009]
Mingling traditional Carnival elements with novel ideas, Peter Minshall
goes chic to chic with upper crust art.
Art has its share of uncredited heroes and this film assesses the heft of
a Trinidadian artist’s refreshing point of view of the perils of man’s
It is about a designer’s hubris to author a new word in art, “Mas ”
(which overrides masquerade), to counteract the conformity and conservatism
of Carnival in the 1970s. It’s about Peter Minshall reinventing Mas as a
cutting edge tool to enlighten spectators about the complexities of life – a
bold move that, in due course, influences the Olympic Games to feature him
as an artistic director in Barcelona, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
There are so many textures to Peter Minshall’s Carnival art, they all tie
into a story line that essentially captures his muse, flair for costumery,
as well as the enigma of a man whose main job seems to open confrontation
between good and evil against the backdrop of the celebrations. His calling,
as such, isn't so much about being playful in the Mas as much as it is to
awaken themes about modern humanity that not only display a curious slant in
art but also inform audiences that are privileged to discern his work.
The film examines Minshall’s life and art, a tapestry woven from multiple
threads that include his “masography” coursing through 26 years; his design
and stage acumen (documented in the 2006 presentation “The Sacred Heart”);
his Olympic Games contribution; the Carnival stage (the Mas) in Trinidad
preparing him for the world stage (the Olympics); and his set pieces of
political protest and entertainment provoking parallel emotions in major
North American, European and Asian cities.
Peter Minshall, Trinidad Carnival Artist
A Dalton Narine Film
eCaroh Price: $18.95
"An excellent film; kudos to all involved"
- Derren Joseph, Trinidad Guardian
"Congratulated by all who love the seven realms and beyond"
- Simon Lee, Trinidad Guardian