This Page
Play video
Carnival Presentations
Peter Minshall
Man of Mas by
Man of Mas by Dylan Kerrigan & Nicholas Laughlin
Search for Peter Minshall on
"I don’t make costumes, I create ways to express human energy."
Minshall twice collaborated on city-wide concert-spectacles with French composer/producer Jean-Michel Jarre, including the 1991 Bastille Day "Paris in Concert" and UNESCO's 1995 "Concert For Tolerance" at the Eiffel Tower.
Early On
Minshall was born in Georgetown, Guyana, but moved to Trinidad as a small child after his father took a job as a cartoonist. Growing up in the capital, Port of Spain, he was exposed to Carnival from a young age. He made his first costume at the age of thirteen, entering the children's Carnival competition as an African witch doctor, and winning a prize for originality. He attended Queen's Royal College, then went on to study Theatre Design at the Central School of Art and Design in London.

"Our kind of carnival represents theatre in its most original form. In Europe people pay to watch, here they pay to join in." --From


Guggenheim Fellowship (1982)
Chaconia Silver Medal (1987)
Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa - from the University of the West Indies (1991)
Emmy - Outstanding Costumes for a Variety or Music Program (2002)
Republic Day Award (2005)
Trinity Cross (1996) Trinidad & Tobago’s highest national award


Peter Minshall brought Trinidad Carnival designs to the opening ceremonies of the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympic Games. Minshall, known for provocative themes that poke fun at local society and the decay of world civilization, has been critical of the modern trend toward colorful but meaningless costumes.

Minshall claims that mas--
"living art that we make fresh every year"--

is the truest artistic expression of Trinidad.
"Our aesthetic is performance, the living now."
A major aim of his life's work has been to prove that mas can be "high" art, as capable of the sublime or the universal as any other art form.


Peter Minshall has been the foremost artist working in the field of ''dancing mobiles'', a form of performance art that combines the three-dimensional quality of large-scale sculpture with the dramatic and choreographic expressiveness of a live human performer. The ''dancing mobile'' is one of many forms to grow out of the mas' -- the masquerade tradition of the Trinidad Carnival -- and was the subject of a fellowship awarded to Minshall by the Guggenheim Foundation in 1982.

Minshall has long argued that mas is more than fancy costumes -- it has the ability to make powerful social and spiritual statements. He rues the "abandoning of the Carnival to the market."

Peter Minshall on

" The world is about change and nothing will ever move if it stands still....You want to be able to see the music dancing."

Peter Minshall

Duration:04:17 The 1st video was produced by Timothy Speaks []

The Minshall Trilogy - A collection of 6 videos

click the lower right button & then the one above to access player menu

"my whole aim of putting up these videos is to preserve and promote Trinidad & Tobago culture. I am a person who loves all aspects of T&T culture and I find that alot of gems are forgotten along the road to progress. I am a person who believes that in order to move forward is to learn & appreciate our past."


Thank you for posting a large archival collection of important and pricless historical video at youtub

A native Trinidadian, he designed his first 'costume' made when he was 13 and living in Cascade: an African witch doctor. Cardboard box, dry grass, bush, Christmas ornaments, some silver paint and 'two ounces of artist's charcoal for 43 cents' won Minshall first prize for originality in Auntie Kay's Red Cross Kiddies Carnival.

His father believed a career in theatre design would offer a more secure career. Minshall trained at the Central School of Art and Design in London, and went on to receive unanimous critical praise for his professional theatre design work both in England and the United States.

He studied at London's Central School of Art and Design and became deeply involved in West Indian theatre in England. It developed his sense of what made "good theatre, or good art and what didn't," he said. But his roots were calling.

"I began to ask myself why this Carnival thing was more rewarding than what I was doing in London. Eventually I realised it was because Carnival authentically achieved what such groups as the French National Theatre had been trying to achieve for years: audience participation."

Minshall was one of the first to design mas' for the Notting Hill Carnival in London in the early 1970's. In 1974 he created his seminal individual work From the Land of the Hummingbird for the Trinidad Carnival.

He returned in 1976 to a job as a radio announcer, hosting a morning show called Around the Town, and began gathering material for a Carnival band.

In 1976 Minshall designed "Paradise Lost" for Stephen Lee Heung and it won the Band of the Year title. On his own, he started with a band called Zodiac  and it achieved broad critical acclaim in 1979 when its "Carnival of the Sea", won in all the categories.  It was mas which captured the imagination and kept you wondering long after you experienced it. The art of mas had its high priest.

Returning once again to Trinidad following a 1982 Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship Minshall plunged into his designs with renewed fervour and a confidence, which would be tested by those who prefer the status quo.

 He has presented a mas' at each Carnival from 1978 through 1990, and again in 1993, '94, and '95, costuming some two thousand people in anywhere from thirty to one hundred different designs, complemented by monumental individual dancing mobiles.

Minshall has twice collaborated with Jean-Michel Jarre on the French composer-producer's city-wide concert-spectacles, by contributing large-scale individual dancing mobiles and other theatrical characters to Paris in Concert at La Defense, Bastille Day 1991 before an audience of 2 million, and the 1995 Concert For Tolerance under the auspices of UNESCO for 1.5 million spectators at the Eiffel Tower.

Minshall shared an award for “Outstanding Costumes for a Variety or Music Program” for the broadcast of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony. Story here

In recognition of his accomplishments, locally and abroad, Minshall was awarded an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Letters by the University of the West Indies in 1991. He was also awarded the Trinity Cross.

More at and

The Great Mas Trilogy of 1995, 96 & '97
This  large web site contains one of the great stories in the history of Trinidad Carnival. Peter Minshall is a native son of Trinidad, whose faithful dedication to expanding the circle of his medium ever outward has brought much honor and wisdom to the people of Trinidad & Tobago.
His standout presentation at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta featured many elements of the beautiful triumphal mas which had been the subject of heated debate earlier in his country. 

2006 Atlanta Olypmpics had this climax:
In the wake of the Storm, the Southern Spirit trembles on the brink between hope and despair. Her hope and faith prove stronger, and the Southern landscape explodes in a gospel chorus of joy and beauty, a celebration of life and the triumph of the human spirit:

The virtue lies in the struggle, and when Minshall chose to merge art and spirit by using the ancient old testament word Hallelujah, which means "Glory to God," a great controversy erupted. The Pentecostal pastor Winston Cuffie's position that Carnival is "easily one of the worst devil-glorifying festivals in the universe" was tacitly endorsed by a broad cross section of organized religious leadership.

Hallelujah, Part I of the Trilogy - 1995
Carnival loves controversy, and in 1995 Minshall and his Callaloo company took center stage as local church authorities raised their objections to his "blasphemous" use of "Hallelujah" in the title of a Carnival production. The last word belonged to Minshall. On the Savannah stage before a TV audience, the company portrayed a tale of a angel losing his way and being reborn whole with his ability to fly restored through dance, celebration and the power of Carnival dreams.
Song of the Earth, Part II - 1996
Is a tribal mas of everyone, the tribe of mankind, the tribe of ourselves.
Tapestry- Threads of Life,-1997 Part III
The culmination of the trilogy of praise to a new vision. A mass celebration of the interconnectedness of all things. A mas in celebration of humanity in all its diversity. Based firmly in the understanding that All Ah (We Is One).



Peter Minshall is Carnival's most articulate  spokesperson and the art form's greatest practitioner ,guiding the collective soul of the people into the brave new millennium

2001 costume- Ashes to Ashes This is Hell
The Callaloo Company
Both a production company and a performance company, Callaloo is an inherently collaborative  family of artists, performers, and craftspeople who share Minshall's conviction in the mas as a medium in which to do exciting and relevant creative work.  The Callaloo Company, using the Trinidad food "callaloo" in its metaphorical sense as a combination of many different ingredients that mix together to make a rich and nourishing whole.
Contact - The Callaloo Company Phone: 1-868-634-4491 Fax: 1-868-634-4492

"I don’t design costumes. I provide the means for the human body to express its energy."

Minshall in Brazil
"His band, Callaloo, went to the Biennial Art Exposition in Brazil, and art critic, Professor Nicolau Sevcenko, wrote, "This is an historic moment. It is the first time that the popular expression of the people has invaded the art gallery."

"The Brazilian newspapers described his works as sculptures, which had acquired life. Minshall had incorporated into his costumes much more than a concept of fabric, colour and texture. Using his engineering skills, he had found ways to make his costumes kinetic creatures, utilizing and magnifying the natural movements of the body to make his costumes live on stage."

By Vaneisa Baksh
Express Jan 1, 2000


"A mas band is the closest thing to the abstractness of symphonic music. A progressive experience for the viewer, with a beginning, a middle and an end. There's that total whole, the many parts, and more parts within these parts. There are characters that lead sections, section leaders, and floor members. There's balance, color, shade, tone and form among all these arrangements. It's a cinematic experience, and its great beauty is that it is live."
-- Peter Minshall in Everybody's Magazine

Carnival as “theatre of the streets”,
"The bands (become) commercial juggernauts. The bar truck, the toilet truck, the this truck, the that truck, the wet-me-down truck. The costume, if you want to call it that, has been reduced to a minimal formula."
-- Peter Minshall in TnT Express 31DEC06




Minshall creations have appeared in the streets of Washington, D.C., New York, Miami, Toronto, San Francisco, London, Paris, and Nimes.

“A little grain of sand from the Caribbean, washed up on the shores of the Mediterranean, a mere speck in time.” 
-- Minshall on his role in the opening ceremony of the 1992 Olympics.
--From Caribbeanchoice

Following the success of his Barcelona designs, Peter Minshall was called upon to design for the opening ceremony at Atlanta in 1996. Story and pictures here.

 He has designed for Opening Ceremonies of the 1987 Pan Am Games in Indianapolis, the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, the 1994 World Cup in Chicago, and is currently working as an Artistic Director of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He has collaborated with composer/producer Jean-Michel Jarre on two immense Concert-Spectacles in Paris, the 1990 event at La Defense, and the 1995 UNESCO "Concert for Tolerance" at the Eiffel Tower.

Band of the Year titles

  • Paradise Lost (1976)
  • Carnival of the Sea (1979)
  • Jungle Fever (1981)
  • Carnival Is Colour (1987)
  • Hallelujah (1995)
  • Song of the Earth (1996)
  • Tapestry (1997)
  • The Sacred Heart (2006; medium-size bands category)
People's Choice Award: Minshall in his time would regularly win the people’s choice award for Band of the Year,  till  the authorities ended the popular vote, embarrassed that it differed so often from the judges’ decision.
In 1987 Peter Minshall presented work at the 19th International Biennial exposition of contemporary art in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where his multi-media exhibition of mas' earned special critical mention from among 400 contemporary artists representing fifty-three countries.
In 1991 the Leicestershire (England) Museum and Art Gallery presented his work in a solo exhibition, The Dancing Mobile, and in 1993 Minshall's work made up a major segment of The Power of the Mask, an exhibition mounted by the National Museums of Scotland to run concurrently with the Edinburgh Festival. Other exhibitions based on his work in the mas have been mounted in London, Caracas, and the mas at Dartmouth College, at the national conference of the US Institute of Theatre Technology and for the Costume Society of America.

A major aim of his life's work has been to prove that mas can be "high" art, as capable of the sublime or the universal as any other artform.


More Minshall images in our imagefolio.


 Carnival presentations:

2006 The Sacred Heart — A Band of Urban Samurai Warriors, Cowboys and Girls, Studded and Adorned, Red White Black, Black and Blue Bringing a Message.
2003 Ship of Fools 
"And, as citizens of the world, in our time, our "military" mas will engage those international enemies to peace, with battle tactics of rhythm and dance and sweetness and joy, to make our statement for peace and play, not war."

2002 Picoplat

"Who or what, I ask you, is going to make our spirits soar to the point where we would really feel inclined to take up our beds and walk rather than, as is the present inclination, to dive into it, pull tight the pillows and wait for thundering rains to shut the outside out?

Sure they tell us there is now more corn to feed more fowl, but where is she or he who would make the picoplat sing?"
-- Keith Smith, May 22, 2001

2000 M2K
  • M2K is Mas Two Thousand, and Minshall Two Thousand.

  • M2K is an Encounter with a new millennium.

  • M2K is a symbolic Encounter of two opposites, who Make Love Not War.

  • Black meets White, White Meets Black.

  • Black gives White some of its Blackness.  White gives Black some of its Whiteness.

  • Out of this encounter, inner beauty is revealed – in explosions of Silver and Gold.

1999 The Lost Tribe
1998 RED
1996 Song of The Earth
1995 HALLELUJAH (with Joy to the World, Spirit of Light, and the Band of Angels)
1994: THE ODYSSEY (with Circe: The Sorceress, and Calypso: The Golden Goddess)
1993: DONKEY DERBY (featuring the ensemble performance piece, The Trojan Donkey)
1990: TANTANA (with Tan Tan and Saga Boy) a breakthrough development in the monumental dancing mobile:  reversing the traditional relationship between puppet and puppeteer, and achieve such animation and mobility that they are able to waltz, tango, boogie, and dance to Calypso with each other.
1989: SANTIMANITAY (with The Lord of the Flies and The Kiss of the Spider Woman)
1988: JUMBIE (with Moko Jumbie: The Mantis and Maco Jumbie)
1987: CARNIVAL IS COLOUR (with The Merry Monarch and Colour is Irie)
1986: RATRACE (with Manrat and Hope: One Race, the Human Race)
1985: THE GOLDEN CALABASH: Princes of Darkness and Lords of Light
1984: CALLALOO with Callaloo Dancing Tic Tac Toe and The Bird of Paradise
1983: RIVER (with Mancrab and Washerwoman)
1982: PAPILLON (with The Sacred and the Profane and Fly, Fly, Sweet Life)
1981: JUNGLE FEVER (with Tiger, Tiger, Burning Br
1980: DANSE MACABRE (with The Midnight Robber and La Reine Diablesse)
1979: CARNIVAL OF THE SEA (with The Devil Ray and Splash)
1978: ZODIAC
1976: PARADISE LOST (with The Serpent) A symphony in four parts for a cast of 1500. Hummingbird’s winged form evolved into a host of fallen angels while imps imagined by Minshall were based on the traditional jab jab character.
London When he was 21, Minshall left Trinidad to study at the Central School of Art and Design in London. After graduation, in 1969, Minshall found himself designing the set and costumes for a ballet production at Sadler’s Wells. Minshall was one of the first to design mas' for the Notting Hill Carnival in London in the early 1970's. In 1974 he created his seminal individual work From the Land of the Hummingbird for the Trinidad Carnival, and two years later designed his first full-scale mas' band in Trinidad, Paradise Lost.

 HomeCarnaval Main
Translate Tool