“It is my intention to take my audience via my mixed-media painting, “Let’s Play Mas”. to Trinidad and Tobago. Carnival is an event that takes place each year on the Monday & Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. According to tradition this event is characterized by exuberant celebrations and colorful costumes. Many of the participants embellish their costumes with such things as tiny mirrors, buttons, feathers and sequins just to name a few of the unique and imaginative items that are used. On the streets folks are seen dancing, this is called “playing mas”.

Everyone joins in the fun old and young alike. Included, in the fun are tourist from nearby islands and from countries as far away as England, Mexico and Rio.They are dancing to this fabulous music called calypso. Calypso has it’s origin from Kaiso and Canboulay music which was imported from West Africa. This music came from the African slaveswho worked on the sugar plantations. Through this music they poked fun at the slave mastersand it was used as a means of communicating with each other.They told stories through these calypsos which were first sung in French Creole. the storyteller was referred to as a griot I hope that the viewer will feel the excitement, and joy that I experienced while in Trinidad during Carnival.”

Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks is a Washington, DC-based artist who specializes in mixed-media work, including painting, art quilts, one-of-a-kind dolls, and works on paper. Much of her inspiration comes from her travels to colorful places like Brazil, West Africa and Trinidad and Tobago.

Her creative journey always begins with a circle and without pre-conceived drawings. Representations of figures, faces, patterns, plant forms, and symbols merge to produce dazzling compositions.

Ms. Aqui has been honored with awards and exhibitions by countless revered institutions. Her works are in public and corporate collections both locally and abroad. Ms. Aqui received her BFA in Art Education from Howard University and a Masters Degree in Education from Trinity College. She is owner/director of The Climbing Tree Art Gallery and Art On Wheels.