27/05/2024 9:48 AM


Adorn your Feelings

MassQ up: Outdoor fest to celebrate art and music from local communities of color

4 min read


A MassQ is a ritual application of face paint in a distinctive design that’s supposed to convey out the wearer’s character and state of head. Callahan coined the conditions MassQ and MassQed, but he’s speedy to notice it has roots in traditions from around the globe. “You’re reworked into a walking operate of artwork as a result of paint,” he spelled out in a Zoom interview.

That’s only the beginning of what awaits friends who enterprise into the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Jamaica Plain following Saturday afternoon. Co-produced by Callahan, the arboretum, and multidisciplinary inventive cohort Castle of our Skins (which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year), MassQ Ball is developed as a space for healing, understanding, and connecting throughout communities, with the tall conifers of Hemlock Hill all close to. Admission is absolutely free, and all are welcome.

“The thought of this ball is intimacy,” reported Castle of our Skins artistic and executive director Ashleigh Gordon in a Zoom job interview. “Being capable to trade and engage with mates and family, and being equipped to journey through the efficiency encounter in smaller groups.”

This is how it happens. Upon arrival, attendees will be invited to be MassQed. You can do it by yourself, or you can be MassQed by one particular of a number of artists properly trained by Callahan. “They’ll speak with you for a little bit and get far more of a feel of who you are and where by you are, and how that incorporates into line and coloration, and then they will paint that on to your face,” Callahan claimed.

Visible artists collaborating in a training session with Daniel Callahan to discover his MassQing method. About 30 artists will be on hand at MassQ Ball 2022: Origin to assist attendees put on MassQs of their individual.Sarah Duarte

Wherever a typical mask conceals, a MassQ is intended to expose “who and what you are in the instant the MassQ is designed. So I never ever do the exact MassQ two times,” he included. A single of the earlier MassQs on Callahan’s website reshaped its subject’s face with daring arcs of crimson on a industry of black, an additional protected a face with a mosaic of pastel-coloured lightning bolts, and nevertheless an additional re-produced a summertime sky comprehensive of wispy white clouds.

When friends have donned their MassQs, groups of close to 30 people will be guided along a route of performances and visual artwork by Boston-based artists such as spoken-word poets Dzidzor and Harlym 1two5, mariachi bandleader Veronica Robles, installation artist Lilly Manycolors, and a string quartet from Castle of our Skins.

Callahan and Castle of our Skins to start with threw a MassQ Ball in 2017 it was subtitled “Convergence” and took position at Roxbury’s Hibernian Corridor. This year’s celebration, the second, expands on the 2017 edition “in every way probable,” Callahan reported. It’s lengthier, featuring additional artists, and attendees can get there at any time all through the occasion.

Gordon hopes the out of doors placing will aid folks experience more comfortable with regard to COVID-19 danger as nicely as stimulate interactions by “being equipped to see each other in new approaches remaining capable to do so all over again in a house that is a free of charge and open space for all,” she stated. “We’re attempting to emphasize for individuals of color to know that [the arboretum] is a place exactly where, in particular if you have not right before, you can enjoy lots of walks and imaginations in this article.”

Violist Ashleigh Gordon is inventive and executive director of Castle of Our Skins, a Boston-primarily based live performance and instructional series that facilities Black art by way of audio. Robert Torres

Castle of our Skins manufacturing coordinator Jacqui Dumornay explained she appreciated staying in a position to see her childhood stamping floor from a new standpoint when organizing the function. “A lot of my skinned knees ended up from riding my bicycle off path,” claimed Dumornay, who grew up five minutes from the park and worked with the arboretum’s horticultural staff to make an accessible and immersive working experience without the need of disturbing the park’s conservation initiatives.

“When we get stuck in the hustle and grind of being in an urban center, getting in the arboretum seriously provides folks a likelihood to hit pause on that,” mentioned Dumornay. “We’re not discouraging phones, but we’ve built a powerful exertion to arrange the exhibition in a way that feels all-natural, so folks don’t have to use their phones to navigate.”

The final intention of the ball, mentioned Callahan, is to transcend boundaries and provide people today jointly.

“I consider Boston has often been rather of a segregated metropolis,” he said. “Boston has a ton of diversity, but usually people today stay in their enclaves. So a cultural party like this that provides men and women with each other to celebrate every single other — not only in what helps make us the exact same as human beings, but what will make us exceptional . . . was most likely a stunning matter in Boston.”


July 9, 2-7 p.m. Arnold Arboretum of Harvard College, Jamaica Plain. www.massqball.com

A.Z. Madonna can be arrived at at [email protected]. Abide by her on Twitter @knitandlisten.


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