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Yorkshire Carnival Dynasty Shares Design Skills

  • Date: 29 July 2013
  • Area: North
Three carnival participants in colourful costumes

Left - right: High Esteem project participant Andre Pyke-Condor, Project Leader Hughbon Condor & Sephbon Condor in their Birds of a Feather costumes at Huddersfield Carnival. Credit: Photo courtesy of High Esteem

A project which encourages young people to get involved in Yorkshire's Caribbean carnivals, and is led by a father-son duo whose family name is synonymous with Carnival, has been launched in Leeds.

High Esteem is a brand new artistic project for young people aged 16-30 which combines hands-on training in Caribbean carnival costume design, manufacture and performance with expert mentorship in business skills.

Funded by the Arts Council England's lottery supported Grants for the arts programme, and led by Hughbon Condor - one of the UK's most innovative and creative carnival costume designers in partnership with his son Sephbon - High Esteem's main goal is to provide young people with both the artistic and business skills it takes to make carnival happen.

Leeds-based Hughbon said, 'The aim of High Esteem is to ensure a cultural legacy and advance the art of carnival by engaging young people through skills which they can contribute to carnival and other large scale events. Quite often young people see carnival as a spectator event so we hope that being involved and creating beautiful costumes will help them to see that being a part of carnival can be cool.'

Participants have already started work at High Esteem's Inspiration Studio in Harehills on costumes entitled Birds of a Feather - colourful creations capturing all the drama and colour of mythical birds. The first batch of costumes to be made were given a road test at the recently staged Huddersfield Carnival and will be aired at Manchester Carnival on 10 August  before appearing at the prestigious Leeds West Indian Carnival on August Bank Holiday Monday. They will be joined by the Birds of a Feather King and Queen costumes. Until then, troupe members are sworn to secrecy as the spectacular costumes will only be unveiled at the Carnival King and Queen Show at Leeds Town Hall on Friday 23 August.

Angela Chappell, Arts Council England's Relationship Manager, Combined Arts, commented, 'We are delighted to support High Esteem's work to encourage young people's participation in Carnival as we believe that Carnival provides countless opportunities for artistic expression and participation. High Esteem's efforts will certainly help to contribute to the future of Carnival and its key role in nurturing and showcasing talent, particularly for diverse communities in areas with low levels of engagement in the arts.'

Sephbon Condor commented, 'Growing up, I was surrounded by Carnival. My Dad passed on his skills and I'm passing them on to my 17 year old son Andre who's taking part in the High Esteem project - so Carnival is in our DNA. Together we want to make taking part in Carnival a must do on everyone's list of 'Things to do Before I'm 30!'

Anyone who would like to take part in the High Esteem project or to become a mentor or corporate sponsor should email highesteemarts@gmail.com