Celebrating Black Emancipation through Carnival: the Archives of Kenneth Shah, 1956-2002 - Day 4
This exhibit of photographs, parade costume designs, and other records created by Kenneth Shah explores the roots of Caribana, the festival that arose out of a desire by West Indian immigrants to share the carnival tradition of the Caribbean with the dominantly white British and European population of Toronto. It is a culture that celebrates the emancipation of Black people from slavery through Calypso music, dance, and masquerade. The festival was started in 1967 by the Caribbean Centennial Committee and it became an annual event, the largest of its kind in North America that attracted more than a million people each year. Kenneth Shah co-founded the festival and was a costume designer and mas band manager. This selection from his rich archives of photographs, film, and text created between 1956 and his death in 2002 captures the enthusiastic embrace of Trinidad and Tobago’s tradition of masquerade, dancing, and music that evolved from the Caribbean’s celebration of the abolition of slavery. Kenneth Shah’s archives were gathered after his passing by the late Professor Christopher Innes, a Canada Research Chair in Theatre and Performance at York University, brought to York’s Harriet Tubman Institute, and later transferred to York University Libraries. They are now available for research, providing a rare opportunity to bring life to a generation of Black performers who connected with large international and multicultural audiences drawn to Toronto by its Caribbean festival.
Please note this event will be presented in English. Bilingual titles and descriptions are for reference purposes only.