On Wednesday, August 10, the Artists’ Coalition of T&T (ACTT) installed the Carnival Queen costume “Madame Cocoyea” in the foyer of Cinema One IMAX at One Woodbrook Place, Port-of-Spain. The installation was sponsored by BRYDEN pi as part of Pantheon—the King and Queen Costumes of T&T Carnival Exhibition’s “ADOPT-A-COSTUME” campaign, which urges corporate and State T&T to save select King and Queen costumes from destruction by adopting them and exhibiting them in lobbies, foyers, and their spaces for a year or more.
The installation also marked the launch of an ACTT led campaign to acquire corporate partners for its Make Madame Cocoyea iunto a Super Hero campaign which will ask primary and secondary school age students and youths under 35 to ‘’create a backstory and first adventure for Madame Cocoyea.’’ The winning entries will receive prizes and see their stories turned into a comic book and a one minute cartoon which will be shown on IMAX screens for a year! In this way the Carnival Queen costume will not only be saved from destruction but now become immortalised & converted into contemporary pop culture.
Madame Cocoyea installed in Imax Lobby
Pantheon is an exhibition celebrating Trinidad and Tobago’s King and Queen of Carnival costume tradition. It was created in 2021 by ACTT’s founder and president, Rubadiri Victor, and in the first year was staged in Woodford Square. In 2022 it was staged in Mille Fleurs, one of the Magnificent 7 great houses around the Queen’s Park Savannah. The Mayor of Port of Spain adopted the event as a permanent part of the city’s post-Carnival calendar, and is a patron of the event.
The King and Queen Costumes are the crown spectacles of Trinidad and Tobago Carnival artisanry. Up to 30ft up and 30ft across, borne by a solitary human figure, they lead bands of costumed individuals as Monarchs across stages and through the streets.
They are the culmination of the imaginative, decorative, and engineering arts of the island. T&T has created a form of large scale costuming, unique in the world in its belief that the dancing-human and extended-costumed body can signify any message imaginable—from the intimate to the epic. We have never had a National Exhibition celebrating them before. Until now.
Ruth Adams-Mendez is Madame Cocoyea