Minshall: Mas is living art
Madness! That was veteran masman Peter Minshall’s response to Government’s proposal to include a Tan Tan and Saga Boy gallery in the floating museum above the Port of Spain Prison on Frederick Street.
Minshall was the masman who created the popular Carnival giant dancing duo Tan Tan and Saga Boy back in 1990. He told the Express yesterday that the characters should not be placed in a museum as “they are at their best when they are alive in the streets among the people.”
“Let the Prime Minister go in the Royal Jail and let Tan Tan and Saga Boy stay free in the streets and leave Port of Spain alone. The Royal Jail has such an integrity of its own like the Savannah.”
A very upset Minshall added: “You know what the real problem is, we have inherited a cock-eyed colonial idea that art is not art or does not become art until it is put in a glass box in a museum. That is why we have not realised that that which we call mas is living art and that we are at the tip of the spear that leads into the future but we are the last to recognise it. We don’t think it’s art unless we build a museum and take Tan Tan and Saga Boy and put them in a museum. That is madness!”
President of the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) Gregory Aboud said while the organisation is very grateful that the development of the capital city is on the agenda and that it will likely be a part of the manifesto, it is not the first time such plans have been announced.
“We can respond specifically to the question of the Salvatori site by saying that we have heard it already and it had been mentioned to us that an energy tower would be put there,” he said.
“Of course we are grateful if that investment is made, as long as it includes an abundant on-site parking, not only for the occupants of the building, but for the need of the city itself. There is no better site in the city of Port of Spain that has been determined by repeated studies for the municipal or Government-type parking than the Salvatori site,” Aboud said.
Regarding the plan for the museum, he said: “I’m not sure the museum should be bigger than the existing jail structure but yes we would be very grateful for that investment as well.”
Veteran Mas creator Peter Minshall.