Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Knit your own moko jumbies

Moko jumbies dance on stilts, possessed by legends of benign spirits who followed the slave routes.

Alan Vaughan's costume designs are bold and other-worldly. Today he and his team are part man, part tea-cosy in knit-and-crochet patchwork with trailing scarlet fabric fronds.

Something as safe and familiar as a granny-made baby blanket becomes a mysterious wool mask for mas, the eerie figures raised above human height to pace across the oceans from Africa, garments made of single stitches, dances made of single steps.

Today the most gruelling part is the passage from courtyard to interior, staying on stilts while squirming through doors. I'm reminded of the ordeal in 2001: A Space Odyssey when Dave Bowman has to go through the airlock without his space helmet.

Costumes designed and made by Alan Vaughan for #OriginMokoJumbies. Performing with Alan today are Blessing, Igor (Sphyfro) and Marshal, at the costume launch held at Paddington Arts, organised by Carnival Village Trust and Elimu Mas Band. For more information please see the Moko Somõkõw Facebook page.