Both Brian MacFarlane, creator of Trinidad's masquerade designs, and the musical band 3canal appeared to be in sync with their performances for this year's carnival, offering the best and most socially conscious productions for the season. Neither could ignore a concern for their island nation that in the recent past has experienced corruption scandals, a partial State of Emergency, curfews, high profile sexual mishaps and an increased violent crime rate that could have even marred carnival. Distinctive for their patriotic use of Trinidad's flag colours red, black and white, both Sanctification: In Search of designed by MacFarlane and 3canal's The Pappy Show - a critique of Trinidad's contemporary life and politics - expressed their pain for Trinidad's current state of affairs and a call for national reflection. Unsurprisingly, Sanctification's costumes with section titles such as Luxuria, Annihilation, and Patrioteer (shown here) were again outstanding for their innovation and mobility, securing MacFarlane's sixth successive win for the Mas road march parade. Meanwhile, 3canal's theatrical show although less well co-ordinated was risk-taking and ambitious. They used their musical presentation The Reckoning and J'ouvert mas entitled Occupy to powerfully communicate their concern for national renewal and healing. At a time when most masquerade bands have devolved into tourist entertainment and bacchanal, it is good to see these creators crossing artistic disciplines to raise consciousness and use the expressions of carnival as a vehicle for social change. See more images from carnival 2012, click here.