Friday, 28 August 2015

Friday 28th August: Notting Hill Carnival Mas Camp behind the scenes - Wassiville & Mardi Gras

In the lead up to Notting Hill Carnival I am cycling around town visiting some of the Mas Camps to document the work in progress of the costumes coming together.  Here is the work of a mother and daughter operation who share a studio and run two different labels making pieces for other bands who need expertise in putting together their looks.  Here the pastel colour components are by Wassiville / Sophia Joseph who also happens to be Miss Trinidad & Tobago UK 2014!  She fell in love with the art as a child when she visited Trinidad Carnival and knew that's what she wanted to do with the rest of her life!  She initially learnt from her mother who has a line "Mardi Gras" (primary multicolour pieces above) and went on to study at London College of Fashion.  She's now set up her own business which takes its name from the Trinidad term "Wassy" which means in a wild and flamboyant style.  Its a family affair with their grand mother visiting from Trinidad to help with finishing the final touches which will be worn by "Release D Riddim".  I'll be at Carnival to capture the parade on both Sunday and Monday to document all the finery from the front line ..................   

Monday, 17 August 2015

Monday 17th August: Wilderness Festival

My camper van was very happy to have a second outing this summer on another festival excursion - this time to Wilderness in Oxfordshire.   Both nights were headlined by legends which was enough in itself = George Clinton and Bjork.  Secondly, Nick Mulvey completed touring his first album which was monumental for me to witness as I heard the whole thing being written in the studio next to me.  Thirdly it's a festival with a focus on wellbeing so I was in heaven swimming in the ponds, stretching out at yoga under the sky and running in the forests.  Ive written up my experiences of helping Sarah Waite with installing colour in the coppices for her Mindful Meditation Run over on my Fitness blog for Hunger here

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Saturday 15th August: Celebrating Trinidad: a moko jumbie performance at The British Museum

An insight into the spirit of Trinidadian carnival came to the British Museum today, in a special performance of Moko Jumbie stilt-walkers in conjunction with Zak Ové’s current installation.  TouchDSky's costumes are inspired by the traditional masquerade folk characters whose roots can be traced to West and Central Africa.  You can see the immense scale of the height of the acrobatic structures as they loomed high against the columns of the museum.  The sun came out perfectly on cue for the metallic materials to shimmer and bright patterns pop.  After dancing in the forecourt, the event moved inside the Africa galleries for musical storytelling "Tales of the Orisha: myth, legend and lore" from legends of the African diaspora which have lasted 400 years.
(TouchDSky's Moko Jumbies by Alan Vaughan, Story Telling with Jan Blake and Ade Egun Crispin Robinson on Bata Drum Percussion)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Wednesday 12th Aug: Zak Ové’s Moko Jumbie sculptures at the British Museum

To coincide with Notting Hill Carnival, The British Museum have commissioned UK-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové on 2 epic Moko Jumbie sculptures installed as tall as the great court. The stilted masquerade characters are guardian spirits originally from Trinidad Carnival, representing African ancestry, celebrating African contributions to world carnival:
"Oral traditions describe the Moko Jumbie as a guardian of villages who could foresee danger and protect inhabitants from evil forces. Traditionally, Moko Jumbie figures wore long colourful skirts or trousers over their stilts and masks covering their faces. They were sometimes accompanied by dwarfs – represented in the installation in the Great Court by two ‘lost souls’, on loan to the Museum from Zak Ové – who provided a visual height contrast."
The Moko Jumbie's will later be installed in the Africa Galleries of the British Museum, Ové becoming the first Caribbean artist to enter the collection.  Here are the words from his gallery's page:

"The Moko Jumbie is a stilted spirit masquerade, representing the ancestors of the displaced peoples of Africa, appearing in times of trauma as a symbol of healing and protection. Being very tall, they act as sentinels, looking afar, anticipating danger and are a common sight at Carnival, Emancipation and Harvest festivals as well as other community gatherings.

Africans brought many types of masquerade with them to the Americas. Despite the oppressive nature of enslavement and colonialism, spiritual rituals were disguised in masquerade and survived through incorporation into European carnival celebrations.

Masking for Africans in the Caribbean is a way to connect to ancestors and nature as well as notions of ‘home’. Masks can also be playful, frightening or a covert way to criticise ruling powers, and masking traditions like the Moko Jumbie also act as a vehicle to openly celebrate African ideas of beauty and creativity.

Ové works between sculpture, film, painting and photography, often collaging the various elements using found, cast and recovered materials. Interested in reinterpreting lost culture and mythology using modern and antique materials, he pays tribute to both spiritual and artistic African and Trinidadian identities which have been given new meanings through Trinidadian carnival and the cross cultural dispersion of ideas.

A constant theme for Ové is the emancipation of personal existence through incarnation with an ‘other self’, highlighting the power of play to free an individual from the contained experience of one’s identity.  This idea is filtered through his own personal and cultural upbringing, growing up between London and Trinidad with a black Trinidadian father and white Irish mother."

28 July - 13 September 2015, Great Court, Free
Events also happening this Saturday, see more info here.

Wednesday 12th Aug: Tonight Matthew, Im going to be...............

................David Bowie............
 ......... for Charlie Casely-Hayford's fancy dress birthday party....... and I wasn't the only one!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Tuesday 4th August: Serpentine Pavilion 2015 by selgascano

This year's Serpentine Pavilion 2015 designed by selgascano is basically my dream piece of architecture.  The maquette looks like one of my accessories with its graphic shapes, multicolour plastic, iridescent film and rainbow lines.  I haven't had time to visit it before now and here are just some quick snaps from my phone when I was cycling past.  I need to return to get some proper photos - especially at night when it's lit up like a cosmic glow worm.  The Spanish duo have actually called the chrysalis-like structure "The Hungry Pavilion" after Eric Carle's classic illustrated book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar".  One of my favourite books as a kid .............. all makes sense!!!!  

Monday, 3 August 2015

Monday 3rd Aug: Bompas & Parr "Alcoholic Architecture"

Bompas & Parr have just launched a bar like no other, where you are given a plastic poncho on entry and your drink is automatically served as a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail. The installation is the "world’s first alcoholic weather system for your tongue where meteorology and mixology collide".   Alcoholic Architecture sits next to the UK’s earliest Gothic cathedral and on the site of an ancient monastery in Borough Market. These themes are channelled through a drinks lists entirely comprised of spirits and beers created by monks: potations such as Chartreuse, Benedictine, Trappist beer and even the notorious Buckfast – a fortified wine so savage that Scotland’s parliament is reportedly drafting legislation to stop the caffeinated intoxicant from entering their country. 
Here I am in my "Cyber Monk" or "Steam Monk" look simultaneously sipping a cocktail whilst inhaling another as its pumped into the bar like dry-ice on set of Top Of The Pops.  I was cracking up at the time due to the soundtrack of The Human League's lyrics "You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
When I met you".  Genius.

Monday 3rd Aug: Carsten Nicolai’s "Unicolor" at The Vinyl Factory