Kanaval | Leah Gordon

Charlotte Hammond responds to Leah Gordon's Kanaval series in A Cross-Dressed Kanaval.

These photographs are selected from Gordon’s Kanaval series. The series, shot over 16 years with a 50-year-old Roleiicord twin lens reflex camera, document the people, masks and costumes of Jacmel’s carnival. Included here are some of Gordon’s previously unpublished images, highlighting the role of male cross-dressing in Jacmel’s unique carnival drama.

Artist Bio

Leah Gordon is a multi-media artist who curates, collects, researches, writes and directs. She works across a variety of media including film, photography, and installations, often including commissioned sculpture and painting. Leah makes work on Modernism and architecture; the slave trade and industrialization; and grassroots religious, class and folk histories. In the 1980s she wrote lyrics, sang and played for the feminist folk punk band, "The Doonicans." Gordon’s film and photographic work has been exhibited internationally, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; the Dak’art Biennale; the National Portrait Gallery, UK; Parc de la Villette, Paris; and NSU Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale. Her photography book Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti was published in June 2010. She is the co-director of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; was a curator for the Haitian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale; was the co-curator of Kafou: Haiti, History & Art at Nottingham Contemporary, UK; on the curatorial team for In Extremis: Death and Life in 21st Century Haitian Art at the Fowler Museum, UCLA and was the guest curator for the 2016 NYC Outsider Art Fair. In 2015, Gordon and her partner André Eugène were the recipients of the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Travel Award for Central America and the Caribbean.