“The work I produce is inspired by the palimpsest of Caribbean culture. Ignoring the Caribs and Arawaks, the colonisers, Spanish, Dutch and English, traded people from India and Africa. My family was part of this. Sometimes the work I make is artistic, from Caribbean and colonial themes, other with very clear stories to create access. I use syncreticism, hiding images and forms with one another, like nesting Russian dolls. A simple example: the triangle is a resonant symbol with slavery and the LBGTQ+ people.”
One of my earliest performances,a collaboration with Diane Esguerra, based on images from Shakespeare´s Othello, mixed with costuming and music. Photo by Chris Bishop.
Double page illustration for limited edition fairytale collection.
Digital print on textile inspired by European fairytales.
Digital illustration for print on textile as part of the story cloths collection.
Japanese tenuguis designed by Keith Khan and produced in Japan.
Produced as a visual for a stadium sporting event.
These three houses were made by 2,000 young volunteers - they contributed photographs and words to make the first two houses and the third was mirrored to create kaleidoscopic reflections. This type of participation transformed into objects has been a recurring theme in many of my projects.
I have directed and designed numerous stage works and spectacles, all with an integrated approach to marketing, education, audience development and the final production. Working both with professionals and amateurs, these shows have all featured great soundtracks and high production values with media and dance as central dramaturgical elements. The creative teams were collaborative, providing a seamless join between the writing, music and performers.
Design for the Millennium Dome.One of a folio of drawings, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum archive.
Developed and designed the costumes, props and colouration of this show that ran everyday, three times a day at the Millennium Dome. Worked with Peter Gabriel and Mark Fischer.
I designed the costumes for the Central Show that ran daily. Inspired by English Folk, we built a team of craftspeople with a range of skills from high performance textile making, through to wicker basket weaving and smocking.
The graphic style I developed for the London Borough of Hackney´s Olympic events.
The importance of every contributor to a project. These community portraits were created as a asset and a gift for the groups participating in the Hackney Olympic Parade.
I wanted to create a different cultural view of London that could also work as a parade element. The clean and crisp graphic approach of the Ndbele artists seemed a perfect fit - London filtered through African eyes. We invited the artists Betty Baby Masanabo, Isa Slinga Kabeni and Nontile Leah Msiza who for a two-month period, saw and sketched London and produced these strong icons of Tower Bridge and the London Eye.
The Parade processed along The Mall to Buckingham Palace. It featured the eclecticism of the Commonwealth: Nollywood celebrities, rickshaws and top Indian fashion designers were fused into a visually coherent package that breathed new life into the Commonwealth brand, by celebrating the young.
The thousands of drawings resulted in a tangible "Rainbow of Wishes" through which the 4,000 London performers paraded.
This journey began in 54 Commonwealth schools, with an education project, where this kit was sent with everything a classroom would require, from educational materials, cameras, to return postage.
It was revealed as The Queen entered The Palace, and made by the Royal School of Needlework, who embroidered the royal emblems alongside rosettes of Commonwealth flags, made by schools. The design work, supervised by Major Sir Michael Parker, underwent rigorous scrutiny to ensure the correct protocols were observed in the Royal hierarchy of emblems and colours.
Article in the American press about Alladeen.
“What was most striking about Alladeen was its use of video technology to create an inhabitable world for the actors: not since Jerome Sirlin’s spectacular use of film and multiple projection for stage shows in the 1980’s have I seen anything quite so innovatively striking”’. - John Rockwell, The International Herald Tribune
Article in the American press about Alladeen.
I love a big spectacle, and over the years have created a modular system for involving people and delivering excellence. This is the Royal Festival Hall, and the show called "Escapade" produced by Akademi. It was really joyous!
"Overture" was 48 hours of continuous art and music programming to celebrate the restoration of the Royal Festival Hall for a “people’s audience”. I created the frame and logic into which this all sat. I added an audio-visual wrap to the building, with a commission from the Light Surgeons which used archive material. The programme was continuous, day and night.
This bus was painted in a very folky style, more common on trucks in Pakistan - but when refigured over a bus had a very different feeling. With this I collaborated with Mazhar Hussain and Ali Zaidi. The bus proved very popular and appeared on "Blue Peter" and toured the UK.