Handsworth 2000 Carnival Queen Costume - Boot © Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
I love that part of my job involves spending time on museum websites - some of them have the most wonderful digitised collections online for you to browse through (and drool over). These amazing boots are from BMAGiC - Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery's online database:
"These boots are part of an entire carnival costume - skirt, top, shoulder 'pads' and headdress - made in Birmingham by a Caribbean designer called Professor Black.
Hundreds of years ago Catholics in Europe celebrated the start of Lent with a wild costume festival. The festival tradition was then taken to the European colonies where the slave trade was established. In the Carribean, ancient African traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks were combined with vibrant African music and dance.
The result today is a rich expression of artistic achievements and lots of fun. Carnival in Handsworth started in 1984."
There's also a great collection of monochrome photos - self-portraits of residents of Handsworth taken in 1979. Fascinating to browse through - who are they, what are they wearing, what are they feeling, how have they chosen to pose, what do they look like nearly thirty years later?