Carnival: From Emancipation to Celebration | Level 2

  • Woman wearing costume in an evening parade.
    From Sanctification...In Search Of Port of Spain, Trinidad, 2012 © 2012 Brian Mac Farlane
  • Women wearing grey costumes walking in parade.
    From Humanity – The Circle of Life Port of Spain, Trinidad, 2011 © 2011 Brian Mac Farlane
  • Woman dancing in red costume.
    From Sanctification…In Search Of Port of Spain, Trinidad, 2012 © 2012 Brian Mac Farlane
  • Learn more about Carnival with mas man and carnival designer Brian Mac Farlane
    Featuring carnival designer and mas man Brian MacFarlane

The spirit of the Caribbean blazes to life through awe-inspiring costumes with a strong connection to community and history

Until February 24, 2013 - CLOSED
The majority of the exhibition is on display in the Hilary and Galen Weston Wing on Level 2 of the ROM. The costumes are on view in the Hyacinth Gloria Chen Crystal Court.

The ROM has hosted a Carnival-themed exhibit for a number of years, and our connections with the Toronto Carnival community continue to grow.

This year, be dazzled by a vibrant display that features the costumes and artwork of internationally renowned masquerade designer Brian Mac Farlane, along with Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival photographs.

Renowned worldwide, Mac Farlane's visionary creations stun the eye and spark the imagination. You’ll see costumes, photographs and renderings with themes including Resurrection: The Mas, Humanity: The Circle of Life, and Sanctification…in Search of. Mac Farlane's thoughtful themes evoke the broader symbolic and historical meaning of Carnival, which ties the Caribbean experience to our own Toronto Carnival.

In the 18th century, enslaved Africans were banned from Christian festivities of the French and British colonists. They held their own celebrations in barrack yards and, after the 1834 abolition of slavery was fully implemented in the Caribbean in 1838, the freed Africans together with people of Asian origin took their Carnival to the street.

The exhibition also commemorates John Graves Simcoe, Ontario's first Lieutenant Governor. Many Ontarians do not know that he abolished slavery in Upper Canada in 1793 – some 40 years before it was abolished within the British Empire.

This exhibition is produced in collaboration with Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto.

More Carnival links

Share your Carnival pictures with us on Flickr
Read more about the artist
Carnival stories on SoundCloud