This print depicts a celebration of Jonkonnu, an animal masquerade and dance tradition dating back to the time of African slavery in the seventeenth century. It's associated with Jamaica and other islands in the Caribbean, as well as some southern areas of the United States. Usually held around Christmastime. Jonkonnu provided enslaved people the opportunity to abandon their harsh labors for a day of festivity, parading with music and dance drawn from their African origins.
Hear the music! Feel the rhythm! Move to the beat! In this image, Smith captures the energy of African folk dance. The momentum begins at the top of this image and grows as marchers strut with their arms, feet, and hips in motion. Pulsating with rhythm, drama, and wit, Jonkonnu is a mimed performance with each character in elaborate costume. Cowhead, the main role, is recognized by its long horns; here, it strides across the foreground on stilts. With undulating lines, jazzy patterns, and bright colors Jonkonnu Festival celebrates a cultural tradition that helped sustain a people through difficult times of oppression centuries ago.
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Vincent Smith was a painter and printmaker born in Brooklyn, New York. He studied at the Brooklyn Museum Art School and later at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. He earned his BA from the State University of New York in Sar...Read More ⟶