Carnival, Costume & Community – An Illuminated Legacy

Dates of event: 11 Jan 2023 - 7 Feb 2023 Mon - Thu, Daily Opening Time: 10:00am - Daily Closing Time: 5:00pm

Venue Address: The Window Gallery, City Arts, 11-13 Hockley, Nottingham, NG1 1FH

Jessica Kemp in a long green dress

This exhibition presents a selection of work by late Nottingham-artist Jessica Kemp. It is programmed to coincide with Nottingham Light Night, one of her favourite local festivals. The work is shared as a tribute to Jess and her legacy.

The puppets, lanterns, carnival props and costumes showcased are a small selection of artworks from the many community projects Jess worked on with City Arts.

Jessica Kemp with willow and tissue paper peacock lantern
Jessica Kemp at Nottingham Light Night 2018

Jess was a major contributor to our work with older people in residential care. Jess worked on projects designed to bring the cultural life of the city into care homes. With older adults, she created a series of puppets. In this exhibition you can see:

  • Elements from our fabulous flock of giant birds – made using silk that was hand painted by care home residents
  • Arnold, the winged old man puppet – made with fellow designer Tony Mason, this character is the protagonist of story written by older people
  • The Lords and Ladies – plush, ornately adorned, puppets designed as a tool for communicating with people living with dementia 

Other costumes and lanterns on display were created by Jess for a range of local summer and winter events, including Nottingham Carnival and Light Night.

About the artist

Jessica Kemp was a community artist, designer, puppeteer and carnival creator. She worked with City Arts for over a decade – a friend and frequent collaborator – bringing her many and varied skills to our projects. She passed away in 2021.

The exhibition is curated by Sarah Manton, Jess’ friend and her colleague at Curious Studios.

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