In 2023, the Notting Hill Carnival embraced a poignant theme, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the SS Empire Windrush’s arrival on British shores.
This iconic moment in history was celebrated in style, with TfL proudly displaying a special commemorative bus wrap designed by the immensely talented artist, Baraka Carberry.
In this article, we delve into the inspiration behind this vibrant creation and the profound personal connection Baraka shares with the Windrush generation.
The Windrush Legacy The Windrush, a vessel that arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex following World War II, carried passengers predominantly from the Caribbean.
These individuals represented some of the earliest post-war settlers in the UK, many of whom hailed from Commonwealth nations.
Their arrival marked the inception of what we now recognize as Black British society. Within this evolving cultural tapestry, many found employment within the London transport system.
Notting Hill Carnival:
A Tribute to Windrush The Notting Hill Carnival, an annual August extravaganza, serves as a vibrant celebration of London’s rich Caribbean community.
It was on this grand stage that the Windrush bus, bearing a mix of Windrush elders, some with prior ties to London Transport, and current TfL colleagues, made its debut.
This procession was a heartfelt recognition of their enduring contributions to the city’s transport network.
Baraka’s design for the bus is nothing short of a visual masterpiece, intricately fusing the culture, community, and kaleidoscope of colors synonymous with Notting Hill Carnival, all interwoven with the 75-year legacy of Windrush. The wrap’s centerpiece features three characters – an elder flanked by two younger descendants.
Their attire is a striking collage, comprised of photographs sourced from the London Transport Museum collections. These images encapsulate the people, places, and symbols that have indelibly shaped the Windrush narrative, along with cherished memories of carnivals past. Baraka Carberry:
The Artistic Visionary Baraka Carberry is a digital artist with a profound commitment to celebrating her Caribbean heritage.
Her artistic journey is driven by a heartfelt desire to craft works that resonate deeply with individuals of Caribbean descent while inspiring future generations. A Personal Connection to Windrush Baraka’s connection to the Windrush story is profoundly personal.
Her paternal grandparents were among those who embarked on the Windrush journey.
Through her art, she endeavours to convey their tale, highlighting the trials they faced, the doors they unlocked, and the enduring inspiration they provide to generations yet to come.
The Creative Process: From Concept to Masterpiece Crafting this exceptional artwork was no small feat.
Baraka embarked on a mission to tell a compelling narrative that would not only resonate but initiate meaningful conversations.
Her goal was to transport viewers through time, guiding them from the historical past to the vibrant present and into a hopeful future.
Drawing Inspiration from Everywhere Baraka’s wellspring of inspiration knows no bounds. She draws creative energy from her family, current events, fashion, music, and the rich tapestry of her Caribbean heritage. Her artistic well is deep and endlessly diverse.
The Collage of Stories Within the Clothing Within the collage adorning the characters’ clothing lies a poignant narrative. Baraka felt it was essential to honor the West Caribbean soldiers who played vital roles during World War II and subsequently arrived on the Windrush to help rebuild a war-torn England.
Their story, forever intertwined with the Windrush narrative, finds its place in this creative tapestry. Additionally, the collage pays tribute to the laborers, the front rooms, and the everyday life of that era.
Clothing, a fundamental element of daily existence, provided the ideal canvas for this historical collage. Color as a Statement Color is at the heart of Baraka’s artistic expression. She employs vibrant, unapologetic colors to ensure her work grabs attention.
Her intention is clear – her art is meant to be seen, felt, and remembered. It’s a celebration of diversity and a vivid expression of visibility.
A Journey to Brixton: Home of Windrush Baraka’s favorite public transport journey is a sentimental one – a trip to Brixton, home to Windrush Square, where the Windrush story truly began. Interestingly, Brixton is also her birthplace, adding a profound personal connection to her choice.
Inspiration for a New Generation Through her artistry, Baraka hopes to inspire young Black children, impressing upon them the importance of believing in their dreams.
She aims to communicate the message that their aspirations matter, and anything is achievable with unwavering determination.
The Windrush generation stands as a testament to resilience and unyielding spirit, a legacy that continues to inspire.
In summary, Baraka Carberry’s artistic tribute through the vibrant bus wrap not only celebrates the past but kindles hope for the future. It serves as a poignant reminder of the indelible mark left by the Windrush generation on British society. Through her art, Baraka amplifies their voices and stories, ensuring their journey and accomplishments are never forgotten.
Source – TfL Community Team | Published on September 1, 2023
Black Wall St. MediaContributor