Tate Modern Gets Ready for Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival (c) Matthewglloyd.co.uk Photo via: London Hotels
Notting Hill Carnival (c) Matthewglloyd.co.uk Photo via: London Hotels

Tate Modern is joining the Notting Hill Carnival celebrations. This weekend, as over a million and a half revellers prepare to take over the streets of the world-famous West London neighborhood, the former power station will host its very own party.

Two artists have been commissioned to lead the festivities. London-based artist Hew Locke will stage a performance of “samba-reggae drummers,” who are expected to interact with the visitors—a far cry from the over-ornate sculptures for which he is best-known.

“I wanted to do something which was—I wouldn’t say anti-carnival, but was not, ‘Yeah, jump up, bikini masks’,” he told The Guardian. “I didn’t want to do the huge, highly elaborate costumes that people might expect from me.”

Another artist commissioned is Trinidadian Marlon Griffith. He will present No Black in the Union Jack, a piece inspired in part by the 2011 London summer riots.

“I always got the impression that carnival is something the city understands,” he said. “They understand what it does socially and economically, but at the same time it feels like the city doesn’t necessarily want it to happen.”

Started indoors in 1959, the Notting Hill Carnival proper hit the streets in 1965. Although recent editions have been noticeably quieter, it has long been plagued by racial tensions and clashes between partygoers and the police.

Tate’s carnival will also involve music by Dubmorphology, and a large canopy inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome, courtesy of architectural designer Gia Wolff.

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