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20 Oct 2001

Darryl Montana & Mardi Gras Indian Gang, William Fagaly, and Maurice Martinez

Oct 20, 2001 At SITE Santa Fe

Darryl Montana, son and successor of Big Chief Allison Montana of the Yellow Pocahontas “Hunters” Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, is heir to a rich and visually stunning tradition that originated in New Orleans in the 19th century. While the exact origins of the Mardi Gras Indian culture are vague, the historical record documents that African-American citizens of New Orleans were parading in Indian costuming by the late 1880s. Numerous tribes have since emerged from the Crescent City’s black neighborhoods to display their remarkable handmade finery and engage in percussion-driven chants during Mardi Gras. The Mardi Gras Indian “gangs” display not only their singing and dancing talents, but also their exquisite hand-beaded and feathered suits. The suits are influenced by Aztec design elements and African beading traditions, and they originated as a way for African Americans to stage subtle protests against white repression and violence. Through the costume detailing and song lyrics, New Orleans’s black culture found a way to stage a skillful revolution through art. SITE Santa Fe’s biennial exhibition includes three of Darryl Montana’s meticulously crafted and wildly colored costumes made using feathers, beads, and sequins.

Maurice M. Martinez, Ph.D. is a New Orleans-born poet, photographer, musician, and filmmaker, as well as a professor in the Department of Specialty Studies at the University of North Carolina — Wilmington. He has written numerous articles about the Mardi Gras Indians, and his award-winning film documentary, The Black Indians of New Orleans (1976), has received international acclaim. Martinez earned his BS at Xavier University in New Orleans, and his MA and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor. He received a Ford Foundation grant to undertake two years of research in Brazil for a program titled “Internships in Latin American Education,” which was administered by the University of New Mexico.

William Fagaly has been a curator at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) for over 35 years and has organized over 70 exhibitions for that museum. In 1997 he was appointed the Franoise Billion Richardson Curator of African Art at NOMA. Fagaly has served as a guest curator at many museums and has published extensively on African art. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Fellowship for Museum Professionals from the National Endowment for the Arts. Fagaly is also the founder of NOMA’s Friends of Contemporary Art and Friends of Ethnographic Art. He organized “He’s the Prettiest”: A Tribute to Big Chief Allison “Tootie” Montana’s 50 Years of Mardi Gras Indian Suiting at NOMA in 1997.

SITE Santa Fe’s Art & Culture series is partially supported by The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, Lannan Foundation, Madelin Coit and Alan Levin, Bobbie Foshay-Miller and Chuck Miller, and Marlene Nathan Meyerson.

2001-10-20 0:00:00 2001-10-20 12:00:00 America/Denver Darryl Montana & Mardi Gras Indian Gang, William Fagaly, and Maurice Martinez Another amazing event at SITE Santa Fe SITE Santa Fe SITE Santa Fe info@sitesantafe.org