Kevin Adonis Browne

Cindy Seip

Kevin Adonis Browne is a photographer, poet, archivist, and scholar of contemporary rhetoric and Caribbean culture. His previous books include Tropic Tendencies: Rhetoric, Popular Culture, and the Anglophone Caribbean. He is currently based in Trinidad, where he works at the University of the West Indies–St. Augustine. His latest book High Mas: Carnival and the Poetics of Caribbean Culture (University Press of Mississippi) was Overall Winner of the 2019 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Taking a sophisticated and unapologetically subjective Caribbean point of view, the author delves into Mas―a key feature of Trinidad performance―as an emancipatory practice. The photographs and essays here immerse the viewer in carnival experience as never before. Kevin Adonis Browne divulges how performers are or wish to be perceived, along with how, as the photographer, he is implicated in that dynamic. The resulting interplay encourages an informed, nuanced approach to the imaging of contemporary Caribbeanness. Representing the uneasy embrace of tradition in Trinidad and the Caribbean at large, the book probes the multiple dimensions of vernacular experience and their complementary cultural expressions. For Browne, Mas performance is an exquisite refusal to fully submit to the lingering traumas of slavery, the tyrannies of colonialism, and the myths of independence.