The spirit of carnival was unmistakably in the air at the Flatbush Caton Market on Labor Day Saturday, thanks to Tropicalfete, a Brooklyn-based multicultural arts organization.
According to St. Lucian Alton Aimable, Tropicalfete’s president, the group partnered with the Flatbush Caton Market to produce “a socially-distant performance and exhibition.”
“The goal of this engagement was to highlight the commercial activity that takes place in the market,” Aimable told Caribbean Life on Monday. “The market houses about 30 small Caribbean American businesses that were affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
“The management team at the market is forging ahead with various initiatives to help support the vendors,” he added. “Tropicalfete’s slogan, ‘Using Culture as a Tool for Social Transformation’ was evident in this project, because this presented a perfect opportunity to use our art forms to support the vendors.”
Aimable said Ricardo Greenaway, a performer and teaching artist and producer of Tropicalfete’s “Pan Lime,” entertained shoppers with “the sweet sound of the steelpan.”
In addition, Aimable said Charles Watts, a performer and teaching artist, along with student Ava – last name withheld – “masqueraded, danced and pranced on stilts.”
Aimable disclosed that Tropicalfete hosts a carnival exhibit at the market that runs for the next two weeks.
“The exhibit has carnival costumes as well as portraits of the carnival experience,” he said. “Through the photos, the story of carnival is told, especially the photos that focus on the work involved in producing costumes.”
Aimable said a special photo cube highlights Orchid Eccles Gonsalves, one of Tropicalfete’s masqueraders and teaching artists, who died in 2020.
He said the “End of Summer Carnival Fest”, slated for Sept. 20, is Tropicalfete’s next agenda item.
The event, which will be streamed on social media, will also be available on Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV, Aimable said.
In the fall, he said Tropicalfete plans experiment by “fusing steelpan with and yoga.”
Aimable said the organization currently has a creative face mask contest “to promote safety and creativity during the pandemic.”
He said Tropicalfete normally closes out the year with a grand production, dubbed “Finale.”
This year, Aimble said the group plans to produce the show with the theme, “Exploring Injustices that has Plagued our Society and COVID-19 has Brought to the Surface.”
“Our different performing groups and featured artists will be showing the power of arts in their performances come December,” said Tropicalfete Board member Keith Marcelle.