Public Dialogue around Toni-Lee Sangastiano’s Carnivalesque

In the middle of the painting, there is a drawing of a circus ringmaster wearing flashy clothes (a colorful tailcoat jacket and a bright top hat). He is pointing to something that looks like a technological device that he is holding with his other hand. Next to him is another circus character, holding his left arm, also pointing to the device. The device is a black rectangle, with a green square in its center, that, itself, has a green circle divided in six equal portions in the middle. The circus image has a pink frame, with common Facebook reactions: heart icon, sad face, like icon, surprised face.

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On April 7, 2022, the Department of Art and Art History and Georgetown College hosted a public dialogue around Toni-Lee Sangastiano’s Carnivalesque. She engaged in conversation with panelists:

  • Sarah Houbolt, a Paralympian, diversity advocate, arts manager, and freak show, international circus, and physical theatre performer.
  • Johnathan Lee Iverson, the youngest and first Black American Ringmaster of the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, which he served until its closing in 2017.

Toni-Lee Sangastiano’s artwork makes visible the people and spaces of the carnival, celebrating them in all of their wonder, glitter, grit, genius, and eccentricity. This event was held in conjunction with the exhibition Toni-Lee Sangastiano: Carnivalesque, on view in the Spagnuolo Gallery through May 23, 2022.

Watch the recording:

Read more about the event.