West London is celebrating art and artists this weekend. Kensington & Chelsea is holding its first-ever Art Weekend from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 July, taking in 50 galleries, museums and artists’ studios and offering talks, tours and temporary exhibitions. On Saturday (1-4pm) and Sunday (1-5pm), a free bus will take visitors to the area’s attractions (track the bus by twitter, @ONTHEBUS69).
Notting Hill Carnival gets a nod (though not much more than that), as the programme invites you to visit The Tabernacle, Powis Square, to hear Mangrove Steel Orchestra rehearsing.
There’ll also be a chance to hear on community station Portobello Radio (portobelloradio.com/live.html) an interview with Sonny Blacks. Sonny was involved in NHC from the very start and has organised countless shows, including the long-running Caribbean Carnival Extravaganza series that brought the music and masquerade of the islands to a wider audience. In a poll of residents, Sonny was nominated as a ‘local hero’ because he “has tirelessly devoted his time to promoting culture in the area”.
If the initiative is repeated, it’s to be hoped that the organisers will give proper recognition to the pioneers from the Caribbean. They were the ones who turned an area of decrepit slums into one of the most sought-after residential districts in Europe and, through Carnival, turned the area into a hotbed of creativity, leading the way for later arrivals to set up all those art galleries.