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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesTradition Reigns on Carnival T-shirt

Tradition Reigns on Carnival T-shirt

“Laegomaehan….laemaebalancemaeself” by Albert Daniel.In a tribute to V.I. history, culture and art, MSI has chosen the vibrant artwork of St. Thomas native son Albert E. Daniel to grace its Carnival T-shirt this year.

The family-owned business has made a tradition of creating a new shirt each Carnival for more than 30 years, according to Tommy Burnt, MSI vice president for purchasing and sales.

“This Carnival is a commemorative year, so we wanted to present an exceptional shirt,” Burnt said. “We were privileged to secure permission to use one of the Carnival images by an artist of Albert Daniel’s stature.”

Daniel’s 1979 original oil painting, “Laegomaehan….laemaebalancemaeself”( Let go of my hand, Let me balance myself) features a moko jumbie waving a whip and flanked by a steel pan player and another musician performing in a Carnival parade for an enthusiastic crowd. In the background is the former Grand Hotel now known as the Grand Galleria.

Painter and sculptor Albert E. Daniel was born on St. Thomas in 1897 and lived all his life on the island. He died in 1982.

Financial circumstances forced Daniel to leave school at the age of 14 and begin working. Unable to afford art lessons, he developed his talent as a painter by copying the work of the great classical artists.

His work was sometimes criticized for its almost child-like simplicity and lack of overt beauty. He also had admirers. His painting of a market vendor was exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair, and he was becoming known internationally by the 1950s.

Daniel gained recognition with off-island collectors and exhibitors, and “Laegomaehan….laemaebalancemaeself” is one of only a few Daniel pieces that still remain in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is held in trust by the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is of the Virgin Islands and is being used with its permission.

MSI offers its Carnival shirts to the public at cost, Brunt said. The Daniel T-shirt is available at MSI and Interiors for $5.

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