Shannon Alonzo

Photographed by Kibwe Brathwaite

During her CCI Fellowship, Shannon Alonzo will deepen her research on Caribbean Carnival and the female body as a site of liberation. In her project Unmasked Unseen, Alonzo speculates on how the boundaries of corporeal autonomy and spatial engagement are navigated through ritual, assumption of persona, and collective action. As a point of departure, she contrasts early nineteenth-century colonial laws prohibiting masking in the streets of Port of Spain with the development of multifaceted, female storytellers whose power is derived primarily from the creation of new personas that exist (only) on the Carnival road. She questions the impact of patriarchal structures demanding that women be “unmasked” while remaining unseen, a phenomena that still exists (albeit in other forms). This investigation will take shape primarily through the artist’s studio practice, which is focused on drawing, soft sculpture, and performance. Through these engagements, Alonzo seeks greater understanding of the ephemeral cycles that exist in Carnival praxis, when the people give themselves over to the transience of the moment and its inevitable loss.  

Shannon Alonzo is an interdisciplinary artist focused primarily on drawing, soft sculpture, and performance. In her practice, she explores themes of collective belonging, place attachment, and the significance of carnival ritual in the Caribbean consciousness. Alonzo holds a BA from London College of Fashion and an MRes Creative Practice from the University of Westminster. She has exhibited her work at the Liverpool Biennial 2023, Ambika P3, and London Gallery West in the United Kingdom; Documenta 15 in Germany; Alice Yard, the LOFTT Gallery, and the Black Box in Trinidad & Tobago; and the Atlantic World Art Fair on Artsy. 

The 2023 Artist Fellowship has been presented in collaboration with Bakehouse Art Complex.  

2023 PAMM CCI Fellow Shannon Alonzo’s Play ah mas, Play yaself mural explores the cultural and historical dialogue between the Caribbean Carnival and the female masquerader. To learn more about the Play ah mas, Play yaself mural and erasure performance, click here

Play ah mas, Play yaself, 2023. Charcoal and graphite mural. Photo by Diana Espin
(Before Performance)
Play ah mas, Play yaself, 2023. Charcoal and graphite mural. Photo by Diana Espin
(After Performance)