Gwayakwaadiziwin (Honesty) Sentinel
The Sentinel is the largest, most elaborately costumed character in the procession. Each teaching is dramatized by one of these large-scale totemic figures. Dancer an actress Sheila Boyd plays the Sentinel Honesty. Honesty’s form is based on the hummingbird, a beautiful and compelling creature that is also territorial and strong-willed. The Hummingbird is also a symbol of Trinidad and here Griffith inserts himself in the procession. The bird is also a symbol of honesty for the indigenous people of the Caribbean: a sacred bird that Sheila now embodies. The patterned forms coming out of this sentinel is made from reflective Mylar on Plexi-Glass, a material manifestation of the reflexive nature of this particular Sentinel. Shining blindingly in the sun, this three-layered mirrored costume conceals the masquerader’s form beneath; instead we see ourselves reflected like a mise-en-abyme.
Here are a selection of Marlon Griffith’s initial sketches, artistic renderings, technical drawings, and images of the process of making Honesty. These images comprise a process extending almost two years. While the forms are intended to give shape and spirit to each of the teachings, each are also closely tied to the individual who plays each Sentinel and are custom designed to fit that individual. This structure extending almost 10’ high supports and is supported by Sheila as she pushes it through the street for all to see…themselves reflected in honesty’s vision.