Arts Center to open Hammond artist’s exhibit _lowres

Photo provided by the Hammond Arts Center -- Phillip Colwart's Mardi Gras photography will be on exhibit at the Hammond Arts Center during June.

The Hammond Regional Arts Center, 217 E. Thomas St., Hammond, is exhibiting award-winning photographer Phillip Colwart’s exhibit, “Mardi Gras Indians and Mardi Gras Subcultures,” through Friday, June 26.

Colwart is a Hammond photographer whose photograph “Absotively Posilutely Doctor John” won first place in the Image Development category during the Hammond Art Guild’s 53rd annual open exhibition.

He has been documenting the rich culture of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians, the Skull & Bones Gangs and Baby Dolls for 13 carnival seasons.

The origins of these traditions date back to the late 19th century and are unique to New Orleans. Costume design and creation, the music and chants, the dance moves — while changing over time — reflect the legacy of the enslaved and free people of color who celebrated their gods and ancestors in Congo Square, birthplace of Jazz.

Scheduled during the opening reception are live performances by the Fi Yi Yi Mardi Gras Indians, Baby Dolls, including the celebrated Cinnamon Black, and the frighteningly mysterious Bone Gang members. A musical performance by Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes also is scheduled.

Colwart will discuss the history of the cultures behind his work on Wednesday, June 10, at the arts center.

Admission to both events is free. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call (985) 542-7113.