It’s a feast of colours, feathers and glitter which has taken over the exhibition space of the Cardiff Story Museum.
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Swica Carnival, which set up and organised Cardiff’s first carnival in 1990, launched yesterday (Thursday 5) its first exhibition displaying its most incredible costume of the past three years.
The exhibition launch party last night attracted people from all ages and works of life. Swica’s carnival crew performed a traditional carnival dance to the rhythm of drums, which turned the Cardiff Story into a dance floor as people joined in the party and a cheeky but family-friendly burlesque group shook more tail-feathers as the evening unfolded.
Steve Fletcher, the artistic director of Swica Carnival, said: “ When people walk through this space, you can see their faces change – their smile. They then look around them and shrug off their wet coat and join in. The atmosphere is great.”
Among the pieces on display are magnificent long sequined dresses, feathered masks and heard-wears, but also human sized flowers and a moon, fantastic aquatic creatures, a dragon and even a huge rabbit head peeking over the balustrade. On the wall, a picture timeline takes the visitor through the history of the Cardiff carnival.
Among the crowd of enchanted faces, Michele Leask, 48, was there with her daughter Rosie, 9, both participated in last years carnival. Rosie explained her favourite costume is the giant pink Kitty, standing in one corner of the room. Mrs Leask said: “The carnival is very important for Cardiff and its community, it brings a lot of people together. It’s a very inclusive event.”
Jenny Bradley, the Administrator at Swica Carnival, said: “The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for us: we have already met a lot more people and it is only the first week. Hopefully, it will raise awareness of this summer’s carnival.”
Adrian Spinola, 53, from Grangetown, is the official artistic designer for Swica. He made fancy dresses, worked as a cake decorator, a florist and an event organiser before he joined Swica for his first carnival in 2004, when he created his own costume and paraded in Cardiff. “After that, I was hooked, absolutely hooked,” he said.
“Carnival is about light, music and dance. In the exhibition, we have tried to recreate that atmosphere with fans to bring movement to the feathers and costumes, disco lights and some carnival music. This represents a huge amount of work: it’s not a job, it’s a way of life.”