The inaugural exhibition of the Kensington Town Hall Community Art Project; ‘Aspects of Carnival’ by Fiona Hawthorne
Aspects of Carnival by Fiona Hawthorne
This exhibition celebrated one of North Kensington’s most significant contributions to contemporary culture: The Notting Hill Carnival.
Fiona Hawthorne’s paintings tell the full story of Carnival – from early preparations, through to the heady excitement of the Carnival procession itself, to the big clean-up in the early hours.
With their detail and local references, together the works express how Carnival fits into the community that owns it, capturing a genuine passion for reclaiming the streets.
They are inspired by Fiona’s personal experiences innovating with the local community to create performance pieces for Carnival. Over the last 18 years Fiona has designed and produced numerous performances, including a large and successful carnival arts masquerade project for young people. This was one of the largest floats parading art created by children at Carnival, and gave her an insight into what it takes behind the scenes to get the show on the road. ‘Aspects of Carnival’ captures that adventure in a vibrant mix of paint and photographs, creating an extraordinary juxtaposition of colour, character and storytelling.
One of the first British artists to embrace digital technology, Fiona here mixes contemporary painterly expression with economic lines to produce thirteen works of strong integrity. This installation initially ran as part of the ’Portobello Road Public Art Project’, a public art programme from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which enables contemporary artists to showcase their talent on a 100-metre wall stretch along Portobello Road - connecting two of the most exciting markets in London: Portobello Road Market and Golborne Road Market.
About the artist: Fiona Hawthorne
Previously commissioned by Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s ‘Portobello Road Public Art Project’ (‘Aspects of Carnival’ 2013 and ‘150 Markets’ 2015), Fiona Hawthorne is an acclaimed visual artist. Having completed numerous international commissions (including a portrait of Barack Obama currently hanging in the Library of Congress), her work reaches far beyond the boundaries of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where she has lived for over three decades.
Alongside a number of artist residencies (including one year with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), Fiona has created, directed and produced many award-winning art installation events including ‘One Thousand Pans’ for the closing weekend of London Olympics (where 1,000 steel pans played the tune ‘Brasil’ for handover, live on Brazilian TV).
Given her long-term connection to the Borough and interest in capturing diversity and people live in situ, much of Fiona’s work is rooted in scenes and stories of those living in North Kensington. Her recent works “Wall on Bard Road” and “Project Ramp” were created in collaboration with local children/residents to capture their reminiscences, keepsakes and old photos into colourful sculptural murals that celebrate life in North Kensington.