broken clouds
August 25, 2008 | General

“Sweet Wheat” brings Caribbean flavour to EIA

There is something green, gold and sparkly at Edmonton International Airport (EIA). No, it is not an Edmonton Eskimo cheerleader, it’s “Sweet Wheat”, a mas costume produced for the 24th Annual Edmonton Caribbean Arts Festival held earlier this month.

Cariwest sponsors the Edmonton Caribbean Arts Festival, and the theme for the 2008 and 2009 festivals is Cariwest Presents Alberta Best. “Sweet Wheat” was created as a tribute to Alberta’s farming community.

The mas costume was created and assembled under the expert tutoring of veteran mas producer Geraldo Vieira of Trinidad and Tobago, his assistant Greta Pitres, and Edmonton mas designer Osmond Edwards, Sr. It features 400 giant green and gold wheat pods embellished with 21 delicately structured giant bees. The bees are symbolic of the insects attracted to wheat.

Mas is short for the word “masquerade,” but over the years it has come to mean everything associated with Caribbean-style carnivals such as the Edmonton Caribbean Arts Festival. Simply put, mas is the medium through which the Caribbean arts of costume making, Calypso music, and steelpan music come together.

“Sweet Wheat” was the outcome of Cariwest’s first international mas workshop this past spring at the University of Alberta. The project was completed with generous support from the TransAlta Festival City Grant Program.

EIA, in partnership with Edmonton Tourism and TransAlta, launched its Live All Year program last summer. The program is designed to create a vibrant atmosphere at the airport by bringing live performances, interactive activities, and artistic displays to the terminal to promote Edmonton’s many festivals and special events.