Rio-London Carnival Exchange

A cultural and artistic exchange between British and Brazilian Carnival artists

‘Hackney’s streets…awash with colour and dancing rhythms, as samba dancers and fantastical floats snake their way through the borough.’
– Hackney Gazette

Rio-London Carnival Exchange brought together over 500 UK and Brazilian Carnival artists in a unique artistic and cultural exchange, turning Kingsland Road into a Brazilian Carnival for one day.

The Exchange took place over six months, with joint visits to an array of inspirational and diverse locations, including a Samba factory in Rio, and a series of workshops where carnival groups from Brazil worked with local communities in and around the Rose Lipman building in Hackney. The project culminated in a series of processions in 2012 at the Isle of Wight’s Blue Touch Paper Carnival in June, the One Hackney Festival in July, Notting Hill Carnival in August and the Mayor’s Thames Festival in September.

It celebrated the passing of the Cultural Olympiad from London 2012 to Rio 2016 and was conceived to inspire a legacy of artistic collaboration between the British and Brazilian Carnival traditions.

We worked with creative producers, Artaha to facilitate the exchange and develop and deliver the overall programme. Renowned, award winning carnival designers, Renato Lage and Shademakers Carnival Club were commissioned to co-design, construct and bring to life Amas, Homage To Rio, a representation of a Rio float, presented as a live art installation for the London 2012 Festival at the One Hackney Festival Dance Nation’s Dalston and the Mayor’s Thames Festival. Keith Khan Associates, Artistic Directors of the One Hackney Festival Parade, were engaged to integrate the Rio Collaboration street carnival within the parade.

London School of Samba, Emergency Exit Arts, Paraiso School of Samba and Tropical Isles Carnival Company collaborated with Embaixadores da Alegria and Fundição Progresso to develop skills in float and costume design and making, which were realised in the Samba and Carnival companies work that featured in the One Hackney Festival, Notting Hill Carnival and Mayor’s Thames Festival.

Local and international artistic collaborations continue, between: Create and Fundição Progresso, Rhythms of the City and Monobloco, ROTC and Shademakers, ROTC and Tropical Isles, Shademakers and Renato Lage, Embaixadores da Alegria and New Carnival Company.

Rio-London Carnival Exchange was funded by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and the Arts Council of England.