2006 New Orleans


All Posters in Mint Condition

Stored Flat Prior to Shipping

Congo Square

"Three-Way Pocky A-Way"
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
by Richard Thomas

2006 Poster

How does one capture - in mere ink and paper - a regal Mardi Gras Indian chief, resplendent in a suit of fine plumage, prismatic beads and exquisite handiwork that turns culture into couture? How does one freeze the driving rhythms that animate Mardi Gras Indians, the font of back-beat, second line New Orleans? Start with an icon; in this case Chief Joseph Pierre "Monk" Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles Tribe. Boudreaux, 64, occupies the big chief's position of stature and cultural responsibility and has woven his chants into music performed around the world.

This spectacular poster celebrates a singular aspect of the New Orleans African-American experience; a culture born of struggle, sometimes at war with itself and almost extinguished by Katrina. The story goes that the Indians took their name to honor the native Americans who gave them shelter in their run from slavery. The Mardi Gras Indians began as "social aid and pleasure clubs" over a century ago, when blacks were excluded from the white Mardi Gras krewes that paraded in the weeks before Lent. They formed gangs named after imaginary Indian tribes and staged parades in their own neighborhoods. Legend has it that the chaos of Mardi Gras day provided cover for score-settling battles among these groups. Over the years, these morphed into competitive displays of tribal dress, song and dance. Each Indian invests thousands of hours and dollars designing and creating his beaded and feathered suit - too much to risk in battle - and at up to 150 lbs., too heavy for any fight. For an aural taste of Indian culture, sample the lyrics and pulsing beat of Iko Iko; written 55 years ago and based around traditional Creole patois Indian chants and the Meters 1974 hit "Hey Pocky A-Way"

To create a visual icon representing a culture so unique we called upon Richard Thomas who, in a parallel that won't escape notice of aficionados of the series, portrayed Fats Domino in the classic 1989 Jazz Fest poster. Thomas' energetic fusion, based upon on a photo by Michael P. Smith, New Orleans' premier documentary photographer, succeeds wildly in conveying the dignity, stature and intensity of a Big Chief at the peak of his powers. Thomas manages to both show the man and his art; the all-encompassing costume that sometimes obscures the Indian wearing it. This triptych (three-panel piece) is timeless, and, unlike the suits themselves, weightless. Collaborating with Smith, Thomas has birthed a vision that rocks like the Indians on Mardi Gras day. The Indians may no longer blow each other away, but you'll be blown away by this magnificent silk-screen print. In addition to the numbered and the artist-signed editions, art4now is releasing a special edition triple signed by Thomas, Smith & Boudreaux. A piece of art that's a piece of history. Three-way Pocky A-Way!

The Congo Square African Marketplace is held annually as part of the New Orleans Jazz Festival. It is a living celebration of the African-Caribbean culture at the root of much of our 20th century art and music. Beginning in 1979 and initially named "Koindu" (outdoor African market) it expanded to it's present configuration and was rechristened Congo Square in 1989.

Big Chief Monk Boudreaux

2006 Congo Square

Current Prices:
Numbered ~ $249

3,000 Numbered prints, 38" x 20"
900 Artist-signed & numbered prints, 40" x 22"
600 Triple-signed (artist, photographer, Big Chief) & numbered, 40" x 22"

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