Brian Mac Farlane's Bio

BRIAN MAC FARLANE embodies the valour, vibrance, vigour and vitality of Carnival. Exalted in the collective consciousness of costume designers, the world over, his awe-inspiring, award-winning masterpieces and his custom crafted, palatial, performance pieces pulsate to the rhythm of his creative genius. Into each illustriously imposing construct, this design master and conceptual artist injects life—so much life—that one would never believe that as boy he suffered from an energy deficit.

A sickly child, he baffled doctors. High fevers and delirium deprived Brian of much of his childhood. Without a diagnosis, and desperate for a cure, his parents were forced to travel from Trinidad to Miami; searching for an answer but hoping for a miracle. Doctors discovered an abnormal immune system. He suffered from multiple allergies. The only remedy would be a high-priced intravenous serum, administered weekly. His parents, of humble means, couldn't afford it.

The son of a Trinidadian father and a mother from Barbados, the fourth of five children, Brian grew up in Petit Valley, a quaint suburb, west of the capital city. His father worked as the secretary of a cocoa plantation. His mother was a homemaker. Brian's illness, so pervasive, compromised his ability to perform academically. Unsuccessful in his high school entry examination, he exited Maria Regina Preparatory School for St Anthony's College. Acute absenteeism plagued his pedagogic performance, weeks away from the classroom ran into months; reading presented a major challenge, spelling created another; and then came a diagnosis of dyslexia.

Confused and lost, in the halls of academia, and convinced that he was going nowhere fast, at 15, Brian walked out of school and into his future. The day after, he began work with popular mas man and costume designer Raoul Garib. Costume design was a world Brian understood intimately, even as a teen. To escape the psychological and physical pain of his illness, he would retreat into the creative recesses of his mind and create miniature costumes made of aluminum foil and paper napkins.

Brian's home situation was far from idyllic. His imagination became his salvation and saviour. Through Garib, Brian got a chanced opportunity to work with Christopher Santos a brilliant young designer who specialised in designing Kings and Queens for Carnival. Display and exhibit design, quickly, became the context of Brian's reality. In the 80s, his grand installations gained national prominence, during the festive Christmas season, at malls, in Trinidad and Tobago, and across the Caribbean region; in Barbados, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

By the 90s, Brian emerged unstoppable and the corporate sector started to take note. In addition to designing ultra sophisticated spaces for various company launches he has also produced and designed landmark award ceremonies including the launches of the all the oil and gas platforms built in Trinidad and Tobago to date. He also designed the décor and event managed the opening ceremony for the 5th International Conference of Gas and Energy Producing Nations hosted at the Trinidad Hilton. The first time the Conference was staged outside the Gulf States. Some of Brian's corporate clients include the country's blue chip companies: British Ga, bpTT, BHP Billiton, Guardian Holdings, EOG, TSTT, RBTT, CMMB, PCS Nitrogen.

In 1999, he took the world on a jaw-dropping journey as designer of the prestigious Coronation Ball of the Ms. Universe competition held in Trinidad and Tobago. He also mesmerised minds as the conceptual designer of the Ms. Universe fashion show when he converted a conventional auditorium into a most unconventional and out-of-this-world experience. The shows dazzled with his super creative artistic concepts, there was no choice but to sit up, notice and applaud. The encore ovations rippled through the world of Caribbean design.

During the 90s, Brian's design dossier continued to win him many accolades and awards as a Carnival designer. His work reigned supreme in Trinidad's Carnival competitions. In 1993 Prisma Man of Colour, a larger-than-life design, powered by the adrenaline of the masquerader who performed it, won Brian a South King of Carnival title. In 1994 he also won his first National King of Carnival title and Best Designer for the costume The Conquest. This costume also won Carnival King of the World, at the first ever, International King and Queen of Carnival Competition, held in Trinidad and Tobago, with participants from some 38 countries.

Year after year, his innovative and always competitive Carnival costumes continued to woo audiences into high octave oohs and aahs. Brian took extraordinary risks, stretching the imagination; designing with an element of danger; often taking spectators to place they had never been. At the start of the 21st Century Brian designed Roslyn Gabriel's Junior Queen of carnival entitled Exodus the Power and the Glory. The spectacular creation won all seventeen competitions in which it was entered, it is a record yet to be broken. Later that year at the request of the Trinidad and Tobago Government, this costume was used in a performance for Prince Charles of the United Kingdom, on the occasion of his official visit to Trinidad and Tobago.

By mid-decade, well into the Century a new history in modern mas was being created. The Washing by Fire by Water, (2005): Threads of Joy (2006), India: The Story of Boyie (2007), Earth: Cries of Despair, Wings of Hope (2008), Africa–Her People, Her Glory, Her Tears (2009), Resurrection, the Mas (2010), Humanity Circle of Life (2011), Sanctification In Search Of (2012) were all monumentally Mac Farlane; regal, rich, exciting and outstanding presentations that spoke to the way we had developed as a country and Brian's desire for Trinidad and Tobago to be more. Victory soon became his trademark; today Brian stands as a living legend.

Brian has won Trinidad's Large Band of the Year Downtown title for the past seven years and the National Large Band of the Year title for the last six years. He has also designed for international carnivals, winning Band of the Year in Australia and Vancouver, Canada. His 2008 presentation Earth: Cries of Despair, Wings of Hope gained United Nations recognition of Brian's talent, tenacity, environmental activism and social consciousness. Also memorable was that The Washing by Fire by Water was turned into a theatrical performance for the heads of Caribbean nations (CARICOM) at a state dinner at the Prime Minister's residence in Trinidad.

In 2006, Brian left the nation speechless when he designed a tourism theme park that could make Spielberg blush. Theme design offered a reinterpretation of his signature style; transforming local spaces into sites of international splendour. Brian continued to hijack the Diaspora's imagination as he combined costume design with dynamic cultural expressions; African drums and ancestral dance traditions, steelpan, East Indian tassa drums and Bollywood styled dancers. He built intrepid pieces that captured a critical mass. Corporate Trinidad and Tobago also pressed Brian's talent into service for various events from award ceremonies to galas.

In 2008, Brian was appointed by Trinidad and Tobago's prime minister to design the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summit of the Americas attended by American president Barack Obama. His opening presentation, a historic reenactment of how the Caribbean was born, featured a cast of 750 musicians, performers and celebrity Caribbean artists in a colossal cultural presentation. His prime ministerial appointment also extended to designing and outfitting the Summit's Plenary Section and Summit Village. Six months later, he designed the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at which The Majesty The Queen of England was present; a spectacular event with a courageous cast of close to 1000 performers; both events were held in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Brian also designed Carnivalesque a presentation for the visit of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia of Spain. Eight years prior, his work featured, at another royal presentation, for Prince Charles on his official visit to Trinidad and Tobago. Brian has also designed interior spaces for major celebrity visits including ceremonies for U.S. General Colin Powell and former New York mayor Rudolph W Giuliani. He also made the red carpet fly for a ceremony honouring international sporting legend and national hero Brian Lara on the occasion of having delivered the highest score in test cricket history.

Brian's magic has touched every significant event, in Trinidad and Tobago, taking it from major to magnificent. He copped four Cacique Awards for the theatrical presentation Miracle at Stoll Meyer's, Best Set Design was among them. He also designed and produced sets for Fiddler on the Roof, Porgy and Bess, Jesus Christ Superstar and South Pacific. His success propelled him on an international tour. In 2009 He captured New York City and London and again 2010 in New York City at the Pan Jazz concert with his creativity as he transformed historic spaces such as the Rose Theatre at the world famous Lincoln Center into scenes of Caribbean fantasy and folklore

He has been featured in the night club trades, for his design of Club Extreme, in Barbados, voted among the top 10 night club designs in the world. His creative power reverberated across the entertainment scene, in Trinidad and Tobago, designing Space La Nouba, featured on the cover of Mondo Arc magazine, the world renowned international publication for entertainment technology. Brian also designed and managed the launch of the international resort Le Paradise in St. Lucia which features a golf course designed by top international golfer, Greg Norman. In 2010, Brian travelled to India where he represented the Caribbean in a commonwealth exhibition, Cloths of Power, hosted in Delhi. While there his expertise shone during 2 lectures; he wowed an audience of 600 university students some of whom travelled for more than 12 hours to hear the master of design talk and share his work. 45 professors also gave Brian standing ovation after he delivered a lecture and shared slides on his Carnival and design aesthetic.

Three years ago, he received a surprise call from Imagineer Productions Limited, a theatrical production house, in Coventry, London, to tender with them on a cultural presentation for the 2012 Olympics. The presentation beat over 260 competitors to secure a piece of history. The Olympic presentation, based on the mythic Lady Godiva, will leave Coventry, on foot, for the opening of the Olympic Village. Lady Godiva will take seven days to arrive in London, spending each night in a different city, town or village. Brian will design 2,500 costumes for this historic event. He has recently been asked by Imagineer Productions Limited of Coventry to design the Opening Ceremony for the first game to be played at the Olympics which will be held in Coventry. In July of 2010 Brian designed Coventry's entire Carnival production 2010 consisting of some 500 performers, while there he lectured at Coventry's University of Art and Design to numerous Artiste and Designers who were invited from across Europe. He once again received a standing ovation.

He has donated over $5 Million “in kind” work to various charities in Trinidad and Tobago. He remodeled and refurbished Living Water Hospice, and In march 2012 Brian will undertake the refurbishment of Living Water Mercy House a home for persons with HIV/AIDS. He was the catalyst behind a Children's Life Fund, endorsed by Trinidad's first female prime minister, for children in need of medical treatment but whose parents lack the financial resources. By donation of décor or design, talent and time, Brian gives significant support to numerous non-profits. Charities touched by Brian include, United Way, the Cancer Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Pour L'innocence (for children with HIV) and Bombay Dreams a fashion fundraiser.

On August, 31, 2010, at Trinidad and Tobago's National Independence Day Awards, Brian Mac Farlane was awarded the prestigious Chaconia Medal Gold for Carnival arts and Culture; a boy who didn't know how long he would live or what life would hold, transforming the life of a nation, and, annually, giving Carnival masqueraders another reason for living.