Mardi Gras Indian, Super Sunday 2013, New Orleans. Photo by Gary Samson.

Mardi Gras Indian, Super Sunday 2013, New Orleans. Photo by Gary Samson.

Mardi Gras does not come until March 4th this year, but the University Museum of the UNH Library is allowing the public to celebrate early…and in New Hampshire.

The University Museum, in part with grant funding from the New Hampshire Humanities Council, is hosting an exhibit and related programs entitled “The Beat on the Street: Second Lines, Mardi Gras Indians, and the Photography of Gary Samson.” The exhibition of photographs and folk art will focus on the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans. This working class, African American tradition is distinctively part of New Orleans’s parade culture, and more broadly related to black Carnival celebrations throughout the world.

The exhibit will run from Monday, February 10th through March 28, 2014 with its formal opening on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. The opening includes the showing of the film, Bury the Hatchet, which traces the Mardi Gras Indian tradition through the eyes of three “big chiefs” or leaders of these Mardi Gras Indian gangs. The event will feature special guest Big Chief Alfred Doucette of the Flaming Arrows, who also appears in the documentary. He will answer questions about the film and this centuries old tradition in a discussion moderated by Professor Burt Feintuch of the UNH Center for the Humanities. Chief Doucette’s visit and the exhibition are underwritten, in part, by the grant from the New Hampshire Humanities Council.

Big Chief Alfred Doucette. Photo by Gary Samson.

Big Chief Alfred Doucette. Photo by Gary Samson.

The film and discussion will take place from 3-5:00PM at the UNH Memorial Union Building, Theater I. An opening reception will follow the program at the University Museum, Dimond Library, Room 101, 5:30-7:00PM. The exhibit will feature Mardi Gras Indian suits and art work, as well as the photography of Gary Samson, chair of the Photography Department of the New Hampshire Institute of Art. The exhibit, film, and reception are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served at the reception.

The New Hampshire Humanities Council nurtures the joy of learning and inspires community engagement by bringing life-enhancing ideas from the humanities to the people of New Hampshire. They connect people with ideas. Learn more about the Council and its work at http://www.nhhc.org.

For more information, contact Dale Valena, 603-862-1081 or Bill Ross, 603-862-0346. Dale.valena@unh.edu, bill.ross@unh.edu

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