International Affairs professor Nina Khrushcheva recently co-curated Find Yourself: Carnival and Resistance for this year’s Biennale Arte in Venice, Italy. Nina and University of Maryland research professor Barbara Paca collected photographs of carnivals in Antigua and Barbuda, examining the celebrations’ role in history and within contemporary contexts. According to the La Biennale di Venezia:
Find Yourself: Carnival and Resistance explores Carnival in Antigua and Barbuda and its defiance, from religious traditions to opposing slavery to the present-day celebrations. Against the backdrop of photographs of beautiful people going about their everyday life, political will and the sovereignty of a soul is contrasted by towering mannequins clad in modern-day Carnival dress as a contemporary personification of strength. A carnivalesque world is flexible and accommodates shifting identities, which leads to introspection. Woven into the exhibition’s contemporary reworking of intangible cultural heritage and its stance against human exploitation is a message to challenge modern-day slavery and environmental inequality.
Across the globe, Carnival often stands as a microcosm of societal vulnerabilities. Visitors are invited to contemplate their respective societies and to find meaning in their own national forms of cultural expression.
The collection will be shown from May to November 2019 at Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli, Dorsoduro 919, Venice, Italy.