Junkanoo - book content in development An interpretive photographic exploration of the creative experience and expression of the Bahamian Junkanoo tradition. Junkanoo is an annual Bahamian cultural street event that celebrates the story of the resilience of Bahamian slaves, their hard-won freedom and the achievement of majority rule; it preserves the Bahamian connection with African ancestry and religion by integrating music, costumes, dance, and contemporary visual styles. The actual event takes place beginning on Christmas evening and bridges into Boxing day, lasting 12 – 18 hours. Junkanoo teams consisting of hundreds of performers in extravagant costumes compete intensely in a parade of dance, non-motorized floats and music in front of judges for many award categories. The Junkanoo “shacks” are supported by thousands of fans who line the circuit cheering on their team with the loyalty of World Cup football hooligans.
Artist's Statement The book will be interpretive in nature and use photographic techniques that explore the movement of the dancers, the color and design of costumes, and the emotional intensity of the performers and their supporters. The images will be created over several years and go far beyond the event itself to cover the year-long build up, including conceptualization of a Junkanoo shack’s theme, the design and creation of the costumes, choreography, rehearsals, and character of the performers. The book is not intended to be a documentation of the process or an anthropological study, although many of the photographs could potentially fill that role, rather the images themselves will range from abstractions to isolations of expressions and design. The intent is not to create a historical document, but rather an interpretation of the creative expression of the entire process. The photographer will embed with a large shack and a smaller shack in order to create the photographs.
© All images by Douglas Barkey douglas barkey