Tyrone Casby

Mohawk Hunters Crown, 2009
canvas, glass seed beads, sequins, faceted acrylic stones, Mardi Gras beads, velvet, feathers
29.50 x 25.25 x 1 in
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Big Chief Tyron Casby celebrated his 50th year masking in 2017. The Mohawk Hunters have paraded in the Algiers neighborhood on the Westbank of New Orleans since early 1940’s.

Artist statement: As a proud member of the Mohawk Hunters and a culture bearer, I humbly recognize, appreciate and celebrate the passion, patience, sacrifice and persistence that is required to mask and inspire generations to continue to produce our culture.

The Mardi Gras Indian masking tradition is grounded in African cultural expressions, such as music, dance and spirituality. Our Suits, chants, dances and songs express and symbolize our spirit of resistance and celebrate our individual and collective resilience to overcome the evils of racism, oppression and hardship. I was called to mask Indian by the ancestral spirits in the drumbeats and songs I heard as a boy. I continued to mask as a man because I endeavor to uplift the spirits of individuals living in the Algiers community. My hope is that my over 50 years of masking can be used to enhance our understanding of positive family and community values and can inspire to keep our cultural tradition alive.