Feature Articles

June 2013

Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, Offers Costumes from HBO’s Series Treme

The Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, is presenting Well Suited: The Costumes of Alonzo Wilson for HBO’s Treme, on view through Nov. 3, 2013.

Fine, hand-sewn beadwork, archival-quality costume technique and brilliantly colored feathers; what do these features have in common with the current HBO (Home Box Office) series Treme set in post-Katrina New Orleans? Wilmington, North Carolina native Alonzo Wilson, costume designer for the series is the common thread. The exhibition includes exquisitely crafted Mardi Gras Indian suits specially made for Treme. Additionally, Mardi Gras costumes from select characters, as well as design sketches will be on view. This exhibition originally organized by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, Louisiana.

To keep with the authentic history of the “suits” as they are referred to by the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans, Wilson conducted extensive research to make sure he “got it right.” By working closely with some of the Mardi Gras Indians, Wilson learned some of their historical techniques as he was able, in turn to share special, archival techniques for their suits.

Wilson stated: “In costume design, there is no other option but to get it right when representing historical periods of dress, as well as certain cultural ‘costumes’, as with the Mardi Gras Indians. The added challenge was David Simon, Eric Overmyer and Nina Noble, our executive producers, set the bar very high on ‘getting it right’ for Treme.”

The Mardi Gras Indians are deeply rooted in shared cultures and symbiotic relationships which developed between the Native Americans and the escaped slaves they aided. The Mardi Gras Indians continue to create their exquisite Carnival suits and carry out “the walk” at Carnival. Wilson explained,

“I believe one could view the significance (of the Mardi Gras Indian suit) as a sense of pride and accomplishment for the individual member. Something one would be proud of creating the concept/theme, design, color, making the hand-beaded patches, assembling the suit and making ‘the walk’ in his suit and continue the tradition and culture.”  

An exhibition catalogue will be available for Well Suited: The Costumes of Alonzo Wilson for HBO’s Treme.

The Cameron Art Museum presents 6-8 changing exhibitions annually; ongoing family and children’s programs; a unique program of tours for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers; The Museum School classes for adult and youth education; interdisciplinary programs (lectures, music, films, literature, dance); Healthy Living Classes and ongoing workshops and classes in ceramics at the Clay Studio with resident master artist Hiroshi Sueyoshi. The Cameron Art Museum also features the CAM Café.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 910/395-5999 or visit (www.cameronartmuseum.com).

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