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Paper Mache Girrafe Face

13" x 15"

    The official parade starts shortly after noon with a menagerie of animals, giant papier-maché masks topping multi-colored costumes representing each species in vibrant detail: lions, alligators, zebras, apes, giraffes, frogs, crocodiles, flamingos, parrots, horses, rhinoceroses, elephants, snakes, dragons, rabbits, even yellow-eyed mice that look like laboratory mutants.... Jacmel's carnival is best known for these papier maché masks. Whether they are carved to look like animals, world figures or the local politician of the day, they are what people remember most from the parade. Jacmelians like to boast that these masks would stand out in any carnival, even in the richest countries in the world. And they are right. Both playful and ceremonial, these masks seemed to have jumped out of Haitian paintings, which often depict an older, wilder Haiti, with lush forests and jungles sheltering indigenous animals as well as species that have never been seen on the island, all of it forming a living fable, a chimerical Noah's Ark, a symbolic journey between the present and a very distant past.

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