Since Peter Minshall's departure from Trinidad's annual masquerade competition, Brian MacFarlane has led the way in innovative costume design by improving and refining his mas every year. View the Gallery for MacFarlane's Mas.
Humanity: The Circle of Life is MacFarlane's production for Carnival 2011, and many, including the artist himself, believe that it is his best ever. The concept of life with all its joys and tribulations has inspired MacFarlane to execute multiple designs using a diverse range of materials on portable wired frames that exude an Alice in Wonderland type fantasy. His overarching design principle is the use of black and white, consistently employed with shades of silver to unite the eleven band sections that include themes such as Birth, Baptism, Prayer, Male & Female, Love, Workers, Knowledge and Time. One might have expected this duo-chrome approach to become monotonous, especially with such a large band. But MacFarlane's lucid interpretations, ingenious use of shape and form, and imaginative accessories, keep the band's sense of movement and vibrancy alive from section to section. Perhaps his most elaborate accessory is hats inspired by such forms as clocks, workman's helmets, papal crowns and ethnic wraps, that lavishly distinguish one group from another.
Winning for the fifth time in a row this week, MacFarlane admitted that the beads and tinsel of most of the other bands presented little competition. Those who enjoy carnival as art, however, appreciated the dignity with which masqueraders of all ages and races wore Humanity's universal theme. Crossing the Queen's Park Savannah stage late at night, the band was a mass of shimmering forms that inspired revelers and spectators alike and sealed MacFarlane's claim to the Minshall legacy. View the Gallery