WIADCA Junior Carnival:2018

by Weldon Ryan

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve shot the WIADCA Junior Carnival. So Saturday I convinced Richlin to join the team and work on the Junior Carnival shoot. We stayed for a short time cause of my knee dilemma. The parents were enthusiastic to bestow Caribbean culture upon their kids. Their children spent the energy marching with excitement and vigor. In this short time we shot over 2000 pictures which enables me the resource of great pictures for next years paintings.

Painting Mas 2018

by Weldon Ryan

For the last 3 years the Art Of Carnival Exhibit has exhibited in Brooklyn, New York as an additional feature to coincide with WIADCA and its Labor Day Carnival on Eastern Parkway. As an addition to the art, which is created from past West Indian Carnival events throughout the US, we provides a cultural connection with the communities that celebrate carnival with an artist talk from a historical perspective about carnival characters.

My perspective on Carnival is that of a two dimensional artist with an emphasis on documenting the Carnival through my paintings. This is different than the emphasis of a Soca Artist or a designer of costumes. Musical creations provide an acoustic rendition of art and as African Griots and the statements of the season are what the costume designers bring.

But I feel my emphasis brings the event of Carnival full circle through paint and canvas. Naturally one may argue that photographers document each event. The difference in my form of documenting employ an interpretation which cannot be mechanically created because of my humanistic interpretation. Once we exhibit Brooklyn and shoot the Labor Day Carnival our attention is directed to the Carnival in Miami broward which will take place October 7, 2018.(https://miamibrowardcarnival.com/).Then we prepare for the following year.


by Weldon Ryan

My Parents Four siblings and I came to the US from Trinidad and Tobago 50 years ago.  I was only six.  We settled in the Bronx on Faile Street near Simpson street with the IRT 2 &5.  I have vivid memories of the Bronx.  I also have held fond memories of Trinidad and my brief years spent in the Caribbean.  One of my most vivid memories was Jouvert and people drenched in black as JabJabs scarring us as we watched the procession of revelers.  That was it!  For a while I had no knowledge as to the history of Carnival or the activities surrounding it.  It was on occasion that magazines brought over from my Uncle Leslie I was able to get a glimpse of Trinidad Carnival.  Of course, certain songs of Calypsonians popped through my head and out my lips.  But it wasn't until moving to Brooklyn on Herkimer and Jordine Place that I got a good idea of what it is being from the Caribbean.  My mother's best friend who was Guyanese: god bless her soul, lived around the corner.  Boy did she throw good parties.  It wasn't just the parties that I remember but also the feeling of belonging to a culture.  Fortunately for my siblings and I my mothers friend had much older children and thus a more Caribbean vibe to flow.  Unfortunately we it was short lived and we moved back to the Bronx in my fifth year of public school. Thus, my longing for my Caribbean roots was placed purgatory for a long while. 

The pull for my cultures was too strong.  What I'm getting to is that the longing in my heart for a cultural reawakening led me to this moment in my life. I'm totally loving my Caribbean food, Caribbean music and most of all my Caribbean people with their own take of the world, their beauty and their pride.  I paint Carnival and the many diasporas of Caribbean people and I love it.

Jacksonville Carnival 2018 Highlites

by Weldon Ryan

Jacksonville Carnival 2018 was a cauldron of hot,hot fun.   The mas bands were committed to give us the spirit of carnival despite the humidity and heat.  The water and juices poured from the lead trucks keeping the players flowing with energy and vigor whilst staying hydrated to endure the simmering  heat of the sun. They marched the road to the park and performed for the judges in eloquent fashion.  

The one issue that  Jax has is the heat which was resolved with the many vendors providing iced cold drinks and icies that was at the park.  I didn't seem to matter for the manny spectators enjoying the rhythm of the musical acts on stage.  This was an enjoyable event for family and carnivalist alike.  With each year Jacksonville Carnival grow bigger and bigger providing a remedy for home sick West Indians and all others.  I look forward to next years Jax Carnival Fete 2019.  I hope to see you there as you may be a subject of mine as I paint Carnival.


Orlando Carnival Downtown 2018

By Weldon Ryan

Orlando Carnival Downtown was an event that fulfilled everyone's expectation.  Despite a tumultuous week of thunderstorms and rain showers Orlando came out to celebrate another year of festivities and reverie.  Machel Montano was the headliner and the Mas bands was nothing but sinful.  Unfortunately  this year there was two carnivals in Orlando on the same day.  Last year was such  successful because of the effort of GGR Marketing  resulting in a "Free" quality event, Why would younot want a better local than Downtown Orlando instead of a dusty fairground. The musical lineup was phenomenal.  Naturally I stayed with the the original Orlando Carnival Association and organizers GGR Marketing because they organize very well.  There were three mas bands at the carnival for the road march which was plenty.  Lead by Krazy Andy's Krazy Krew they owned the road. As always the food vendor delighted spectators and participants with delicious Caribbean cuisine.  But the best part of the day was the performance of Machel Montano.

FCSA Vibes Florida

by Weldon Ryan

Caribbean Students Play Mas.  The vibe was hot and the Soca music was happenin! 

Having the privilege to display my paintings at the FSCAVibes which was held at Embry Riddle Aeronautic University April 15th 2018 I met the most wonderful bunch a young people at this annual meet-up conference for Caribbean Students from the State of Florida   They were from colleges all over Florida.  The majority  of them are from the Caribbean Diaspora.  "The Art of Carnival " was invited by Guenet and Sam Roberts of Caribbean American Passport News Magazine to display our series of paintings displaying an artistic backdrop as masqueraders played in costume for the students previewing costumed from a couple of the Mas Bands that will march in the Orlando Carnival Downtown May 27th, 2018 at McCracken Field (Camping World Stadium).  The two Mas bands that previewed mas costumes were Andy's Krazy Krew and GenX.  Andy's Krazy Krew and GenX has been playing with Orlando for a few years.  Also at the event were Soiree Events promoting FlagFete which is May 26th http://centralfloridafair.com/events/flag-fete-2018/,  4603 W COLONIAL DR • ORLANDO, FL,https://www.orlandocarnivaldowntown.com/ Contact: GGR Marketing & PR for your custom package 407-427-1800 and https://cynfullycreative.wordpress.com/tag/andys-krazy-krew/

I my prepared state my biggest goof of the day was to not have a fast enough SD card in my camera to capture the action fast enough but I hope that you readers aren't too disappointed in the pix that I took in the slideshow.








Miami Broward Carnival is Fete Central

by Weldon Ryan

As always, Miami Mas bands brought it!  The driving energy of Fete Central was in full effect.  Through the heat and humidity of Miami's october extremes all of the Mas Players partied to the max enjoying what Miami carnival is best known for.   I must say that the Mas Bands took care as of their players as best as they could with food, drink and the right party atmosphere to keep the party going even through the delay of Caribbean time.  Media had it much harder this year with a later than usual start of the Carnival Parade.  The heat limited my creative effort to a conservative effort and formulating plans for the shoot was hampered.  But I came away with great images of these beautiful costumes and the spirit of MIami filtrating through my lense.  There are key images that will be translated to canvas as soon as I recoup from this fete. Get pix at this link: https://Weldonryancarnivalpix.shootproof.com/MiamiCarnival2017

Miami-Broward Junior Carnival 2017

courtesy of Harris Public Relations

The Miami Junior Carnival (in some places called Kiddies Carnival) is a focal point for the very young in Caribbean families and families interested in Caribbean culture. The Junior Carnival, like the adult version, is inclusive of persons from all walks of life. Both Carnivals are a festivity of the vibrant music, culture, colors, and food of the Caribbean. Attendees will grow to understand the true meaning of Carnival, and its importance for Caribbean Culture. 

above photo credit: UKSocaScene

WIADCA Carnival 2017

by Weldon Ryan

Labor Day Carnival this year was outstanding despite the looming thoughts in the back of everyone's mind  about the potentially catastrophic hurricanes that threatened the Caribbean Islands and Miami Florida.  It was so appropriate that the Carnival road march song this years was "We Jammin Still" by Ultimate Rejects FT. MX PRIME FULL EXTREME. With lyrics such as " ohlord the city could burn down we jammin still we jamming still the building could fall down we jammin still we jammin.  My crew( Richlin and Xavier) and I started at the beginning staging area and migrated to Kingston taking as many pictures of this fete as humanly possible.  What made it almost impossible was the revelers in full enthusiasm and security roping out undesirable participants.  The ruckus was on!  As my the crew faded and lost in the crowd I hobbled my way to the rendezvous location  hoping to reunite with them but this was not possible.  As faith would have it I plopped my tired backside in front of the judges stand where I took some awesome  pictures which will no doubt end up on canvas!


by Weldon Ryan

Jab Molassie-Jab is the French patois for Diable (Devil), and Molassie is the French patois for Mélasse (Molasses). The Jab Molassie is one of several varieties of devil mas played in Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.  I asked Arlene, a Grenadian participant I met walking to my car about why Grenadian JabJab don't have the variety of blue JabJab.  According to her "The Blue JabJab is Trinidad jabJab. Grenada Tried having Blue JabJab's but it wasn't popular so they stopped having blue JabJabs".  

Moko Jumbies

by Weldon Ryan

Moko Jumbie is played atop tall stilts. Moko Jumbie is a very popular character of Carnival and Christmas celebrations throughout the Caribbean.  The mas player would wear an elaborate hat and garment styled in various manner.  Moko is a derivation of the god “Moko” from West African traditions. The term “jumbie” is a ghost or spirit.  Moko is a protector of villages.  Being that they are of giant height, this allow them to foresee danger and evil faster than men.  Moko Jumbie mas players dance in a particular manner as they dance the parade route along side the trucks.

Jacksonville Caribbean Carnival 2017

by Weldon Ryan

It was a severely hot day as with most August days in sunny Florida.  But no one seemed to mind.  All of the vendors were set up very organized and ready for business.  It seemed the right amount of vendors because the Carnival had one food vendor that constantly busy with lines spanning across the field.   "The Art of Carnival" tent was no exception to the set up.  We had our display up and we were ready with our pop-up Art of Carnival" show featuring the fine art prints we have for our "Art Basel or Bust" fund raiser.

Despite having a small array of Mas Bands there was sufficient creativity and reverie to make the parade of revelers a dynamic procession.  The Mojo Jumbie's  were great.

The Blue Haze

The West Indian Day Parade gets a lot of attention every year.  Whether that's because it's actually the largest parade event in NYC or whether it's the expectation of violence I can't say.  Carey Gabay, 43, the first deputy general counsel for the Empire State Development Corp., was shot in the head on Bedford Ave. near Sullivan Place in Crown Heights at 3:41 a.m. while he and his brother tried to take cover from the gang gunfire.  He grew up in that neighborhood so being out at J'ouvert is what is done.  This was during J'ouvert last year.  Unfortunately because of incidents like this many cops lined the parade route.  I was happy to see NYC's finest not because I fear violence or crime during Carnival but because I want them to see my people in one of the greatest creative endeavors of the year in NYC.