- Posted July 19, 2014 by
Silver Spring, Maryland
This iReport is part of an assignment:
First Person: Your essays
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Happy Birthday Peter Minshall.. The Michelangelo of MAS
Dear Peter Minshall,
In the summer of 1985 you came to Washington DC with a caravan of artistes to demonstrate for peace. In the Mas performance of The Adoration of Hiroshima, our niche group of Trinidadians, Tobagonians and friends of the Caribbean found ourselves swept up in a monsoon of emotions.
That a group with about 150 people, costumed in flowing white material, with face masks depicting skeletal skulls, accompanied by Tassa drums, marched with lilting Calypso rhythms, singing "All we are saying, Is Give Peace a chance" was culturally unprecedented.
That, my own sense of cultural identity was awakened at 30 is eventful. I was away from TnT for over 13 years. I was fully immersed in my new American identity.
Whether this sounds farcical or not, it was catharsis to reconnect with the soul of my Caribbean self again.
When I was asked to volunteer to drive an 18 wheeler truck to help transport costumes to the Howard University DC location, something, that I would never have attempted in my sane mind, I enthusiastically got behind the wheels of that truck and got it to its destination.
From the personnel at the Trinidad and Tobago Embassy, to the Caribbean Student Associations within the Washington DC borders, we were drafted into the spectacle of Mas, and were overjoyed to participate.
Up to that time in my life, the art of Mas had escaped me. After Washington DC Hiroshima, I visited Trinidad for the making of Rat Race in 1986.
In the experience of watching you enter the Mas Camp to put Hope, the Queen’s costume together, I was the fly on the wall. As much as it was an enormously gargantuan effort, for even a Herculean man to maneuver, it was as if the dragon of unstoppable determination possessed you, and you almost seemed liked you were going to die trying.
I witnessed you crying as you plastered Man Rat with the pieces of flesh like bloodied skins, as you seemed demonized with the hurts and anguish of internal pains.
Then, in 1990.. I saw the Dance, the courtship and the Love affair on stage of Tan Tan and Saga Boy.
Can I just say... awestruck, whipped, seduced are too decent, the thoughts, the words, to convey what passions your Art have aroused.
From a pining fan for life, I celebrate the gift You are to the World.
Happy Birthday, Peter Minshall July 16...Always
Check out this link for more amazing Minshall info