Rio Blake brings us Notting Hill Carnival through photography after it was cancelled yet again

If you’re desperate to catch just an ounce of that carnival energy that we’ve been starved of for the past couple of years, fear not. Although the pandemic unfortunately squashed the hopes and dreams of most live events, a charity exhibition at White City House will open this weekend to commemorate Notting Hill Carnival on its second year of cancellation. It also hopes to bring the experience back to us – if only in a more controlled, perhaps quieter setting. From this Sunday until Wednesday the 1 September, the exhibition will host names such as Carnival regular Sophie Jones, Vicky Grout and Blake herself.
Most of the photographers Blake knows personally and admires. She tells us that carnival is oftentimes the highlight of the London summer for a street photographer – with its unmissable scenes, high energy, and all the love, joy and cultural cohesion. So she wanted to bring that back to not only the photographers missing it from both this year’s and last year’s summers, but for the public who haven’t been able to attend.
Blake, the curator of the show and a London-based photographer, says she really wanted to highlight the sounds of carnival through DJs as well as “all the amazing food.” These two elements are what she believes automatically bring people together. To hone in on this aspect which people may be missing, a Caribbean kitchen takeover by Mama’s Jerk will be selling food during the opening event of the exhibition – “so people can experience the tastes of carnival along with the sounds and visuals.”
Blake hopes that through the exhibit, she is “showing that photography is inclusive and can be enjoyed by everyone.” She continues that she’d love “to feel excited from the exhibition and help people to look forward to the next carnival we get.”