Notting Hill Carnival

Drawing by R Sampson, 1980/82

By Black Cultural Archives

For those how have been to Notting Hill Carnival in west London, this scene will be a familiar one. If you've never been to Carnival, you can explore this colorful drawing from the 1980s, showcasing many of the special aspects of Notting Hill Carnival.

Drawing of Notting Hill Carnival (1980) by R SampsonBlack Cultural Archives

Elaborate Costumes

Colorful and elaborate costumes and head dresses, as seen here, come from the West Indian carnival tradition. This costume combines a futuristic breast plate, with a red cape, attached to the back and wrists and a head dress that looks like a helmet with huge, multi-colored feather plumes. Reminiscent of a space-age Roman Centurion.

The two men following this space-age centurion echo her costume, in red and with the plumed head dress, but are much less elaborately dressed.  Is there a ray of sunshine coming up behind them? A man dressed in yellow with a sunburst head dress is just making an appearance.

Crowd-wide dancing and participating. This woman is not in costume but she is dancing with one of the carnival parade performers. People on the streets of Notting Hill get swept up by the music, the colour and the excitement and they can't help joining in.

80s Style

If you couldn't tell this drawing was made in the early 1980's, this woman's hairstyle would give it away. Made famous by the singer Cameo, the straight up hairstyle with a touch of colour, was fashionable among young people. 

Name in lights

We don't know if the artist included a picture of himself in the drawing, but he's made sure his initials are 'in lights' as part of the signage on the railway bridge.

Credits: All media
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