Artist: Rob Brown
Project: Don’t Bow Down on that Dirty Ground: The Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans
Description: With an anthropologist’s dedication to understanding a distinct subculture, Rob Brown has spent two decades working among the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, whose “ceremonial dress, mysterious vernacular idioms, a song canon of complex rhythm and rhyme, [and] unique style of dance and movement,” according to Brown, “constitute a folk group that has maintained its cultural richness and singularity for more than a century.”
Ostrich plumes and intricate beadwork adorn the participants’ handmade suits as they take to the streets in a parade unlike any other in the city. Documenting the unique traditions of the Uptown neighborhoods, Brown captures the lively atmosphere of “masking” on Mardi Gras.