Women of Mas

Meet the women of the Mas Bands at Notting Hill Carnival

By Notting Hill Carnival

Clary SalandyNotting Hill Carnival

Clary Salandy

Artistic Director for Luton Carnival and of Mahogany Carnival Arts a vibrant team of highly skilled artists known for their award winning carnival designs with 30 years’ experience of crafting costumes for the Notting Hill Carnival.

Clary coordinates an outreach programme designed to raise the awareness of carnival arts in the community. Through these creative workshops young people gain a variety of essential design and practical skills which enhance confidence for future employment or education.

Clary SalandyNotting Hill Carnival

She was the Artistic director for the Carnival segment of the Queens Golden Jubilee parade and for the creative performance of the opening ceremony for Special Olympics in Leicester. Her work featured in the handover ceremony and the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

Clary SalandyNotting Hill Carnival

What are the challenges of working at Carnival as a woman?

"Women are at the heart of carnival as makers, as performers, keeping the carnival spirit alive in the Mas camp while nurturing the next generation to pick up the gauntlet and take the art form to the next level. This requires commitment and building a strong team."

Clary SalandyNotting Hill Carnival

Any advice for an up & coming young woman in your field?

"Volunteering with an existing group where you can learn new skills and gain valuable experience is the best way to start. The Mas camp is a creative space where you will meet talented women, role models, whose skill, guidance and friendship will inspire you."

"Carnival is a powerful space for cultural expression, so understanding the reason and the contribution you can make to the evolving narrative through design, costume making, performing or managing logistics is crucial."

Clary SalandyNotting Hill Carnival

What's your favourite memory of Carnival?

"Nothing compares to the moment the band comes to life at the judging point. This is when all the elements come together; technicians and masqueraders in a frenzy of excitement checking the details. But the icing on the cake was when one masquerade exclaimed that when the stage tune starts she has an out of body experience! The power in the mas."

Clary SalandyNotting Hill Carnival

Name a woman who inspires you and why?

"Apart from the strong women achievers of my family, I am very moved by the work of Amanda Gorman. The depth of understanding and profound meaning in her piece "The Hill to Climb” performed at the inauguration."

Clary SalandyNotting Hill Carnival

Sadeysa Greenaway-BaileyNotting Hill Carnival

Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey

Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey works with Mahogany Carnival Designs Ltd as a performer, costume prop and puppet maker on numerous projects including Notting Hill Carnival. 

What are the challenges of being female working in carnival?

"Unfortunately, some of the challenges women worldwide face can also be found as a Mas-Woman and Masquerader. Within that, there are those who understand the culture of Carnival and those who do not and therefore misinterpret it; applying out-dated patriarchal logic."

Sadeysa Greenaway-BaileyNotting Hill Carnival

"Carnival is a place of self-expression, strength and joy that comes from within. Be that woman in a leadership role, dancing and masquerading, or a Mas-Woman and craftsperson. She is stepping into the world as her unapologetic and authentic self."

Sadeysa Greenaway-BaileyNotting Hill Carnival

What's your favourite memory of Carnival?

"It was a hot day, and we had just passed Ladbroke Grove train station. We were making our way back up the hill towards Harrow Road following our band's truck. Music was pumping, bands in front and bands behind and the street was packed—total gridlock."

"Follow the leader' by the Soca Boys comes on, and from the time the beat dropped, the entire street as far as the eye could see moved as one. A sea of people moving in unison. People in our band, passers-by and strangers alike all united, by the sound, the sun and the vibes."

Sadeysa Greenaway-BaileyNotting Hill Carnival

Name a woman who inspires you and why?

"My Mum, as she is one of the most incredible humans being, I know. Funny, talented, elegant, intelligent, determined, creative, beautiful and thoughtful, the embodiment of a multifaceted woman. I aspire to be like her."

Sadeysa Greenaway-BaileyNotting Hill Carnival

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