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The spectacular Mardi Gras artworks born of a unique New Orleans tradition

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The tradition of Black Masking Indians, in which ‘tribes’ of Black revellers wear elaborate artworks at Mardi Gras that are inspired by ceremonial Native American outfits, dates back to at least the 19th century. While the exact origins of the ritual are murky, they’re firmly rooted in – and an enduring expression of – the distinctive Louisiana Creole culture of New Orleans.

Profiling members of the Wild Magnolias, one of the best-known tribes of Black Masking Indians, this short documentary captures the tradition as it exists today – at the nexus of artistry, cultural heritage and community mentorship. Providing an intimate look at her native city, the director Alexandra Kern captures the Chief Bo Dollis Jr as he guides three young Wild Magnolias through the making of a Mardi Gras Indian suit. Forged over many months, their creation requires imagination, skill and, above all, intense commitment.

Via Short of the Week

Director: Alexandra Kern

Website: Wild Magnolias

24 January 2024
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