Thursday 21 February 2013

Festival CEO Denise Herrera Jackson to MC Toronto Symposium

Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto Media Update

ROM Carnival Symposium - Exploring the Cultural Identity of Mas- this Saturday. Mas movie - Sunday
This Saturday, February 22nd, Denise Herrera Jackson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto festival will be the MC of the Royal Ontario Museum's Symposium which will examine the historical and creative facets of Carnival. Keynote speaker at the daylong event is Trinidad's Brian Mac Farlane, a Mas costume designer who has won the title, the Carnival King of the World.

Carnival originated in Trinidad, and is celebrated throughout the Caribbean, in North and South America,  Australia, Africa and England. Toronto's festival attracts over a million spectators a year, making it the largest such event in the world. In Toronto, as with all other Carnivals, participants wear elaborate costumes decorated with feathers and sequins. Carnival Masquerade (Mas) bands are organized groups made up of participants who wear costumes fashioned by a designer and assembled by teams of volunteers. The costumed participants dance through the streets to the sounds of Soca music - this is called "playing mas'".
Denise Herrera Jackson

The Royal Ontario Museum's daylong symposium about Carnival is free with admission to the gallery.  It runs from 10:30 to 4:30 on Saturday February 23rd and will look at how Carnival has become a cultural celebration of global proportions that takes up new relevance and meaning in the various contexts where it manifests itself.  There will be eight speakers at the conference, including: Carnival researcher Lyndon Phillip
, York University Caribbean Studies Professor, Gena Chang Campbell and Toronto Mas band leader (Carnival Revolution) Osei Brand. 

Mr. Mac Farlane will also be at the ROM on Sunday February 23rd  for the screening of The Insatiable Season a movie about Mr. Mac Farlane and the 2006 Trinidad carnival.  Mr. Mac Farlane will discuss the film following the 1 p.m screening.
55-year old Brian Mac Farlane has been designing carnival costumes and floats since he was 15. During the 1990s, Mac Farlane’s many accolades and awards as a carnival designer included: South King of Carnival for Prisma Man of Colour (1993), National King of Carnival and Best Designer for The Conquest (1994), the latter of which would go on to win Carnival King of the World, at the first ever International King and Queen of Carnival Competition. Mac Farlane’s creations beat out participants from 38 other countries.

Mac Farlane has won Trinidad's Large Band of the Year Downtown title for the past seven years and the Large Band of the Year Uptown title for the last six years. He has also designed for international carnivals, winning Band of the Year in Australia and Canada. In 2010, Mac Farlane was awarded Trinidad and Tobago’s prestigious National Chaconia Medal Gold for Carnival Arts and Culture.  For the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, Mac Farlane was commissioned to design costumes for one of their twelve cultural performances. Some 2500 performers paraded these costumes.

Both the symposium and the film screening will take place in the Royal Ontario Museum's Signy and Cléophée Eaton Theatre.  The ROM is located at the corner of Bloor Street  and Avenue Road in downtown Toronto.  The programmes are free with admission to the Museum, attendees are asked to RSVP at: 416.586.5797 or by emailing


Media wishing to cover the weekend events must contact the Royal Ontario Museum PR department at Media 416.586.5744 or by emailing