Street art

By GREG COOK  |  August 12, 2008

The Carnival is a big party, a release from the daily grind, as well as a celebration of African legacies that conjures a bit of Caribbean home. Smith includes a shot of Stephen “Mr. C” Coker of Hyde Park, a retired auto technician who came to Boston from Trinidad in the late ’60s and who has designed and built costumes for the Carnival for decades. Wearing a red hat and with his face painted black and white (the three colors in the flag of Trinidad & Tobago), he masquerades as the famed 19th-century Zulu king and military leader Shaka.

Carnivals conjure an ancient magic that upends the usual order. If you look carefully, you might observe that the costumes are just paper and aluminum rods and foil and paste. But during Carnival, normal rules don’t apply. Humble materials become diamonds and gold. Everyone looks sexier. And a security officer or a retired auto technician can be a king.

You can read Greg Cook’s blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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