TITLE: Kanaval Devil
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Caribbean
DESCRIPTION: Devil Mask
CATALOG #: CAHT002
MAKER: Michel Sinvil (1949- , Jacmel)
AGE: ca. 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint
In Haiti, the French-speaking descendants of African slaves celebrate Carnival (Kanaval) with parades and parties. Due to the extreme poverty of the great majority of Haitian people, masks and costumes are mostly handmade from recycled or easily available materials. There are stock characters that appear at most celebrations, such as Chaloska and the horned Lanse Kòds, but participants are free to invent their own costumes. A few expert artisans create more professional masks, but even these tend to be made of inexpensive materials, such as paper maché or wire mesh.
For more on Haitian Carnival, see Leah Gordon et al., Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti (London: Soul Jazz Pub., 2010).