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Friday, 27 July 2012

Celebrating Carnival at the ROM

Carnival is a pre-lent festive season that is celebrated around the world, but especially in Trinidad and Tobago and on other Caribbean isles, where the event culminates in giant parades the day before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, participants in those parades wear elaborate, colourful costumes, like Mac Farlane’s.
Opening to the public on Saturday, “Carnival: From Emancipation to Celebration” features a gallery of sketches of Mac Farlane’s thematic designs over the past three years. Since beginning his career as a teenager in the early 1970s, Mac Farlane has won numerous awards for his Carnival work in Trinidad and Tobago and has been tapped to provide presentations for international events like this year’s Olympics. Looking at the sketches, one can see why his work has earned such prestige. His designs are attention-grabbing, and layered with symbolism.
Sketch by Brian Mac Farlane for Aphotic costumes, 2012. According to the interpretive notes, these outfits project "a sense of hopelessness and despair" that people feel when they are "rendered powerless by the negativity that surrounds them.

Take the “Sanctification…In Search Of” series of outfits Mac Farlane produced this year. According to his website, the designs came about as a result of his pain “at the inhumane way in which we treat each other.” Headline after headline regarding crime, the worsening economy, and the fraying of the social fabric led Mac Farlane to create a series of costumes employing the colours of Trinidad and Tobago’s flag: “Red represents our blood; Black represents the darkness, in which we currently find ourselves; and White represents cohesiveness and unity that form part of the solution.” The result is outfits that range from demonic figures draped in blood and darkness, to lighter figures embodying patriotism—which seems appropriate given this year’s celebration of the golden anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence from Great Britain.
Besides Mac Farlane’s work, the gallery also features images from the past 45 years of Toronto’s Carnival celebrations (though don’t go looking for any reference to the festival’s former name, which the organizers are now legally prohibited from using). Video clips include thoughts from the likes of Toronto Raptor Jamaal Magloire on the meaning of the celebration. One drawback to the exhibit is how it’s split up. It’s unfortunate that Mac Farlane’s costumes are one floor away from the sketches they grew from. Rather than being almost hidden away in a corner, the full-size outfits could have formed a focal point in the centre of the exhibit’s main second-floor gallery.
Photos by Jamie Bradburn/Torontoist.
Carnival: From Emancipation to Celebration
Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park)
July 28, 2012 through February 24, 2013
$15 adults, $13.50 students and seniors (part of regular admission

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Friday, 6 July 2012

K2K kicks off Carnival 2013 mas

Members of the K2K Carnival 2013 band The Human Race
at the launch in Glencoe yesterday.
The costumes from left are Starting Gate: Onlooker, Starting Gate:
Thoroughbred and The Jockey: Victory. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES

Rain failed to mar yesterday’s media unveiling of The Human Race, the Carnival 2013 presentation of K2K Alliance & Partners. Held at the Glencoe residence of Nina Tommy, the premiere was attended by Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas.

K2K Alliance & Partners, led by twin sisters Karen and Kathy Norman, made an impressive debut at Carnival this year, portraying The Waters—Seas of Consciousness. The presentation copped first place for the Band of the Day, both at the Queen’s Park Savannah and Downtown (South Quay) competitions, for medium bands. The band also placed first in Costume Design in the medium bands category, and was fourth in the Band of the Year (Medium Bands) competition.

Addressing Wednesday’s conference, hosted by Mervyn De Goeas, Karen Norman said K2K Alliance & Partners is bringing “a different dynamic” to Carnival, especially as its costumes are reusable. Her sister Kathy said, “K2K Alliance & Partners isn’t just a mas band but is built on a foundation of three pillars.”

She cited these as the arts and entertainment element of the band, which focuses on costume and Carnival design, and secondly, it is intended to reinvent cinematic beauty through choreography in mas, and win a Band of the Year title. Thirdly, it means to give back to society through its fund-raising arm, the K2K Foundation.

“The foundation is being introduced at the launch of next year’s band and it is supposed to help disadvantaged children through art,” Kathy said. “Together with our mom, Althea Norman, we are in the process of identifying these children and among the activities we have planned is a weekend seminar to come up with ways to best help them.”

Yesterday, the band gave guests a sneak preview of next year’s costumes by presenting three sections—The Crowd; The Starting Gate; and The Jockey — Victory. The sisters explained that K2K Alliance & Partners intends to use horse racing  as an analogy for the “race of life.” Its theme is based on the principles of “self belief” and ultimately “forging one’s own destiny.”

The band’s brochure states: “K2K’s 2013 presentation of The Human Race is a commentary on the experience of the race for “success”—about pursuing a dream, resisting pressure, overcoming challenges and forging one's own destiny.” The Human Race is being launched at Queen’s Hall on August 9 in a production titled Fashion Meeting Carnival. The stage production will be preceded by a cocktail segment from 6.30 pm.

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K2K kicks off Carnival 2013 mas | The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper

K2K kicks off Carnival 2013 mas | The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper



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