Why I love Notting Hill Carnival
NHC is a spiritual experience for me. It is like my pilgrimage to Mecca. Being part of Carnival is a spiritual practice that gives you a high that no drug or alcohol can induce or come close to, only do it's best to replicate. What most see as a two extravaganza is a year long labour of love culminating in joyous communal chous as we celebrate all that is wonderful about or culture, as well as homage to our ancestors who celebrated their freedom from slavery.
The best thing about NHC for me is being in the middle of the road, surrounded by thousands - yet feeling like the road belongs to you,and you alone and just for a moment you close your eyes and sing, move with the soul of the drum - and everything around you becomes irrelevant. It's about you and your internal experience.
My first NHC experience was almost 20 years ago, and I went as a spectator and after that I said I will NEVER do that again - I have to be part of it ! And every year since my participation has become more and more dedicated.
What makes NHC unique is experiencing many versions of Carnival under one umbrella. Grenada Jab, Brazillian Samba, Trinidad Pan, St.Lucian Dennery Segment - all of it can be found here.”
My favourite thing about the NHC experience is watching the area transform into the magic of community, art and expression. From a relatively quiet area , to the burst of life and colour that it is. Dirty mas is my favourite element of Carnival, because it represents the true essence of what Carnival is. It doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from. Doesn't matter if you are a supermodel or not - we are all the same, and how you look is the least important thing in Dirty Mas.
Fiona Compton is a London based Saint Lucian artist, filmmaker and historian. After graduating from London College of Printing in 2005 with a BA in photography, Fiona has been working as a professional photographer , working for the UK's largest publishing houses, travelling between the UK and Europe to photograph some of the most influential figures in the world of Finance and Banking.
Over the past 15 years her work has explored the various disparities in representation of the Afro Caribbean diaspora within art and mainstream media. Her films have been screened across the globe, from LA to Russia, winning several awards, including Best Documentary and Best Director for Caribbean Film and Fashion awards, and has also been featured in the UK Cabinet office.
Fiona continues her mission to educate in innovative ways through events and online through her account ‘Know Your Caribbean’ via Instagram which facilitates educational posts on short palatable bursts. Fiona also has run creative workshops for children and young people teaching the history and culture of the Caribbean and its linkages to Africa, in venues such as the SOAS, Birbank University, South Bank Centre and Black Cultural archives in London. Fiona currently is on the board of The World Reimagined Project, a UK wide, internationally collaborative, project that focuses on improving Britain's relationship with the Tran Atlantic Slave Trade
Fiona remains a strong advocate for her history and culture and is an Official Ambassador for London's Notting Hill Carnival, combining Carnival and activism Fiona runs the world's first 100% non profit Carnival section -'Not Asking For it' highlighting the protection for Carnival masqueraders against sexual assault, families affected by domestic violence and rape, with all the profits donated to charities supporting these community issues