Mama Celi and Mardi Gras

This is one of my favorite pictures from Yikpa – it captures a true Yikpa moment during the funeral of the old chief of the village of Mama CeliYikpa-Anigbe in 1991. As the drums were rumbling in the background, and the men occasionally fire an old rifle into the air, the women gathered to burn herbs and say prayers for the deceased. Finally Mama Celi, the chief of the women, put some herbs on the fire, and as the pungent, aromatic smoke filled the air, she slowly dances to the drums and recites with great intensity a powerful prayer for the old man.

I use this photo on my homepage and on the “Yikpa Spirits” page, because it nicely illustrates the sense of spirituality in the village. The smoke and the light illustrate the ancient mysticism of the traditions. The serious faces of the women and Mama Celis posture reflect the intensity of the moment and the depth of their faith.

Last weekend I got an email from a guy at a film production company who asked me if they can use the picture in a documentary film about the tradition of Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans, LA. The image will be used to illustrate some of the cultural traditions that have influenced the African-American Mardi Gras Indian tradition. Sure, I don’t see a problem with them using the picture in this context.

In fact, I think it’s pretty cool that they picked this image. Sounds like a great film project – I hope I’ll get to see the film when its done.

2 Responses to “Mama Celi and Mardi Gras”

  1. fred garnett Says:

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  2. fred garnett Says:

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