NoLA: Celebrating with the Saints & Sinners

January 11, 2019 - February 10, 2019
Weitman Gallery, Steinberg Hall Lower Level

NoLA: Celebrating with the Saints & Sinners features the work of Aimee Tomasek, associate professor and art department chair at Valparaiso University.

Artist's statement:

"Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once."—Chris Rose, 1 Dead in Attic

I turned 50 on Mardi Gras day 2016. That was one hell of a birthday party!

On the night of Epiphany, January 6, the Carnival season begins! King cakes are now available, parades roll on the weekends, there are parties, and greetings of "Happy Mardi Gras!" are exchanged in passing by the natives.

Arthur Hardy's Mardi Gras Guide chronicles history, customs, and a current schedule of events, and the newest copy is available everywhere in New Orleans and surrounding areas. Every news source in New Orleans offers a "parade tracker" app complete with weather forecasts, and we all have it on our phones. If it rains, people just wear a raincoat; the threat of snow is the ONLY thing that will stop a parade.

Comus, Momus, Rex, Zulu, and dozens of other Krewes crown their kings and queens and parade throughout a town that will have a parade for any and every reason, especially Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras themes typically reflect ancient mythologies and classical theatrics, contemporary and political issues, or regional and national topics. Costumes are as elaborate as the season itself. Music fills the streets; overlapping sounds of familiar brass band tunes and the ever-popular Mardi Gras classic, Al Johnson’s Carnival Time, create an audible amalgam.

Spending your birthday in New Orleans during Carnival season is as good as it gets. The reality
of growing older is eclipsed by revelry. I have spent several birthdays in this beloved place,
waking up to delicious pastries, banging drums, and laughter.

I will turn 61 on Mardi Gras Day 2027; I hope nothing changes between now and then.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!