Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Weds 2nd Sept: Notting Hill Carnival Mas Camp behind the scenes - Mahogany "Imagine This"

I was really excited to visit the Mahogany Mas Camp in Harlesden after getting to know the work of designer Clary Salandy from my research into Carnival Arts last year.  Her designs are totally unique and identifiable in the sea of costumes at Carnival.   The aesthetic is unrivalled down to the 3D shaping achieved with partner / structural engineer Michael Ramdeen.  The character costumes look alive from the glints in the eyes of the brush strokes to the motion of the movement from puppetry.  This year towering swans bobbed their heads which you can appreciate in the epic size from the scale in her illustrated designs above.  Other sections included a fleet of airplanes with the masquerader in pilot uniform and dancers in circular swirl skirts that dropped into a surprise triptych of layers.  This was not only titled "Secret Garden" but also literally kept a secret from the performers until the day to guarantee a full effect of excitement and energy for the judging panel of the parade.  
I witnessed the full procession out in force for the Children's Day on Sunday and the Grand Finale on Monday.  The seahorse and tropical fish shoals of "Young Mahogany" kids looked like a ridiculously cute flotilla of submarines as they shimmied down the streets of W9, winning the hearts of the crowds.  In this post you can see my snaps of how the patterns are constructed in different stages at the Mas Camp which operates from a Village Hall across the road from the main studio.  With this space it's possible to create gigantic proportions and in numerous duplicates to achieve the numbers needed for the choreographed formations.  How on earth it is then moved from here to the truck on the route early each morning must be another engineering feat all in itself!!!!!  I am totally in awe of the craft and dedication that goes into putting this show on the road.  363 days are spent on devising the concept, patterns and costumes for the 2 day celebration.  This is why it's the best weekend of the year and incredibly as Europe's biggest street festival, its absolutely free to attend.  For this reason everyone who goes needs to appreciate the magic gift of the team's dedication that put it on by volunteering to make it happen each year.  Head over to the CAMF Instagram to see all my photos covering the event which include Mahogany's glorious creations. 

Here is Mahogany's manifesto for this year's theme "Imagine This" =

"Could man have dreamt of flying if her had not seen a bird.  Through man's ingenuity we can travel to all parts of the universe.
Inspiration comes from the world around us yet wherever man lands he has managed to threaten the existence of other living things.
With ought breeding programmes that preserve the lives of the wild species many would be gone forever.
The wheel of time spins, indigenous peoples are also in decline as races and cultures mix and a new groove is born.
People of many colours are forming the next generation. 
What would the world look like?
Peek into the secret garden and let your imagination roam free"

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