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Kanaval – Oral Histories – Class Presentation

Leah Gordon is a British photojournalist that has documented the Jacmel Kanaval in Haïti for 15 years from 1995 to 2010, releasing a book of her exploits. She hijacks Kanaval characters and takes them down side streets where she captures their images and takes time to interview them. Here are some of these characters, describing in their own words how they construct themselves for Kanaval. Endyen (Indian) Marc Andre Michel The imposing, silent Endyen character was inspired by a Christopher Colombus storybook. He has a machete on the left, a big painted arrow on the right. He pictures the Indians as an industrious, brave and courageous people.   Lanse Kòd (The Rope Throwers) Salnave Raphael a.k.a. Nabot Power The Lanceurs de Corde are making a statement about slavery, and being freed from slavery. They colour their skin pot black with a mixture of crushed charcoal and cane syrup. The cords they carry are the cords that used to bind them.   Jwif Eran (Wandering Jew) Fritz Lubin The theme is a wandering person, an old shoe repairer with nowhere to go. It is a terrible fate.He is 1800 years old. Everywhere he has gone he has ended up in huge battles where he is the only survivor. He only ever has five cents in his pocket.   Chaloska (Charles Oscar) Eugene Lamour a.k.a. Boss Cota Chief Charles Oscar was a military commander in charge of the police in Jacmel. He died here in 1912. At the time there was political instability in Haïti. He took 500 prisoners from the local jail and killed them all. The population revolted and tore the police chief to pieces in the street and set fire to his remains.   Madame Lasiren (Madame Mermaid) Andre Ferner Lasiren is a magical spirit that lives under the sea and does mystical work there. She is a Vodou spirit. The baby carried in her arms is the child of Lasiren and is called Marie-Rose. The necklace is called Mambo Welcome; it is a fetish.   Papa Sida (Father AIDS) Lendor James Many young people die from AIDS and Papa Sida is there to encourage them to use condoms. AIDS is not a lie invented by politicians, but the truth. If you do the AIDS lottery, the cemetery pays out every time!   Zel Maturin (The Wings of Mathurin, character(s) from the St. Michel Mardi Gras) Ronald Bellevue This…

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