New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Ray Llanos
Caribbean Celebrations

Libraries are cultural centers. At the cheerful Edenwald Library in a Caribbean-flavored area of the northeast Bronx, I found out about savory-sounding Caribbean concerts in other Bronx library branches. And greeting me as I walked in the door was a case with the seven straight forward, colorful photos of Ray Llanos "Caribbean Celebrations."

An En Foco show, these digital C prints focus on faces, smiling or somberly proud, which often look directly at you, and on the imaginative body painting or costumes of carnival participants. The shots date from 2004 to 2006, but no places or names of people are given. Llanos grew up on St. Croix. The central picture shows two beautiful young girls in apricot cape-collared shirts and gorgeous big head wraps in orange and red. Three of the shots are of groups of young men with faces and bodies painted variously as they can be for j'ouvert, the opening mud and powder-spattered early morning parade of West Indian carnivals. A young woman wears a white and blue folkloric dress, which we're told is Panamanian (the only concrete information besides dates in the captions), another wears a vivid turquoise bikini-bottomed and feathered costume, and a third girl, in a green and gold and irridescent collar over pink feathers, beams out at us with a radiant smile. Those faces can come across with strength.

Edenwald public library is across the street from Seton Falls Park, which I learned about in Joel Meyerowitz's show at the Museum of the City of New York on New York City parks. I'll go back there in a greener time to check out its old growth forest. Photography takes you places.

Ray Llanos
Caribbean Celebrations

En Foco at Edenwald Library
1255 E 233rd St.
Bronx         Map

718 798 3355

Tuesday, February 9 to
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Hours: Mon,Thur, 10 to 8; Tue, Wed, 10 to 6; Fri, Sat, 10 to 5