Drawing from the Mas: A Trindidad Sketchbook

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Sleep of Reason: Eclipse, or Queen of Celestial Anxiety

The Carnival Queen that leads the Sleep of Reason is a Solar Eclipse. Her yellow, hemispherical skirt forms the Sun, as sightlines of gold and silver thread project upwards towards her cratered Lunar Bodice, an opposing hemisphere. The lines continue upward in a cone of shadow that terminates in a darkened region of the Earth, suspended high above her head. Her mask is obscure, made of diaphanous white gauze, but the expression is one of vapid fear. Eclipses were traditionally seen as reminders of the precariousness of our place in the cosmos. The blotting out of the Sun presumes that all we know and possess can be snuffed out in an instant. During the eclipse the Moon usurps the orderly procession of the Sun, privileging night over day, madness (Lunacy) over reason, if only for a moment. The usurping of the Solar order is at the crux of Carnival. To undermine the power of authority structures (slavery, colonialism, Religion) only for a moment, is to break their appearance of omnipotence forever. An authority that can be usurped once is henceforth always vulnerable. The Sleep of Reason breeds monsters, but within its chaos is liberation.


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