Strasser collides with Cindy Sherman

The Calypso collector Ray funk is back in Trinidad and this time he is on local television presenting a film of the earliest moving colour pictures of Carnival. For those unknown to this benefactor, Mr. Funk is an American judge whose second home is Trinidad and Tobago. At Carnival he portrays himself as a Midnight Robber from Alaska with a prepared speech and all.
Mr. Funk says these films was made between 1956 and 1958, and he asked if any older viewers can recognized any aspects of the bands it would be helpful to document the footage more accurately. Nevertheless, his commentary is mixed with knowledge and perplexity of how carnival was played and how people conducted themselves in public. Mr. Funk lamented once or twice that the masqueraders wore more clothing, and as the footage revealed, they also performed a theatrical representation of the band on the stage. From masqueraders marching across the Grand Stand in full armoured attire, black and white bats, devils, stomping American Indians and African tribal men, there is a glimpse of one of the most memorable masquerader with his float.

Wilfred Strasser played the part of a tableau vivant, and his penny float for an example showed remarkable craftsmanship and creativity. His work has a similarity to the photographs of the American artist Cindy Sherman. And like the underlining truth about Carnival, he is playing himself a bit grander, be it the portrayal of Simon Boilvar, Shiva or the Hibiscus flower. What was astonishing about this masquerader was his ability to become part of his costume, and to maintain the stamina to keep in pose for hours on end through the streets of Port of Spain. – thebookmann

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