Each year during the pre-Lent period of Mardi gras, Haitian history is replayed through a parade of masks, costumes and narratives in Jacmel, a coastal town in southern Haiti. Leah Gordon has been recording Jacmel's Carnival every year for the past 16 years on an entirely manual and half-century old Roleiicord camera. In a more tranquil atmosphere, away from the festivities, she met with the carnival performers and collected the stories behind the masks. These are stories of ancestral and revolutionary memories, medieval European carnivals and Voodoo rituals, political satire and personal revelations. The lives of the indigenous Taino Indians, the slaves’ revolt and, more recently, state corruption, are all played out using drama and costume on the streets of Jacmel.
Twelve photos from the exhibition Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti: This photography exhibition was presented at Fasching, Fasnacht, Karneval, MEWO Kunsthalle (Germany, 2014), Les Rencontres Photographiques de Guyane (French Guiana, 2014), Médiathèque intercommunale André Labarrère (Pau, France, 2014), Ort Gallery (Birmingham, 2014), PHI Centre (Montreal, 2013), New Art Exchange (Nottingham, 2012), Side Gallery (Newcastle, 2011) as well as the Riflemaker Gallery (London, 2009) and Photofusion (London, 2009). Gordon's photography book Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti was published in June 2010.