The Norman Twins Dive Into Carnival

NEW JOURNEY: The Norman twins, Karen, left, and Kathy will debut as designers for Carnival 2012. —Photo: GARY CARDINEZ

Kathy and Karen Norman have a passion for art. The sisters say there is nothing special about them except for the fact that God created them simultaneously.

But somewhere along the road they made a decision to pursue business instead of art.

Kathy and Karen are both Investment Banking Analysts on Wall Street in New York and still have a drive and passion for art. Much of their artwork reflects their Trinidadian culture which was inspired by the social issues of the time.

They were taught and trained by Shelia Edwards at St Joseph's Convent, Port of Spain whose own forte in painting and drawing was not only an inspiration to them both but was critical to their development.

Kathy and Karen say, "Under her mentorship we excelled," and in 1997 Karen placed first in the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examination which opened doors of opportunities.

Soon they found themselves designing kitchen textiles for Queensway Limited. They then designed a t-shirt for Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars in 1998.

By 1999 Kathy and Karen were both acknowledged by Cambridge University under the A'Level Examination for Excellence in Art.

The Norman twins say the turning point in they lives came at two junctions, "The first was the decision each made to pursue business and the second was to work with a Wall Street firm. In 2005 we both graduated from Howard University and on September 4th, 2005 two days after our birthday, we began our careers as Investment Banking Analysts."

With that behind them the Norman twins came to a self realisation. They formed KnK Designs, an independent graphic art design company along with a sister company called K2K Alliance & Partners.

"There was a time when we looked into the mirror and saw never-ending possibilities. There was a time when we held a paintbrush and filled an empty canvas with colour. After working on Wall Street, we lost sight of those possibilities and that world fitted with colour. We lost our sense of self," the twins said.

Now it is time to regain that colour and they intend to do so in the form of a Carnival Band called The Waters -Seas of Consciousness.

As designers the Normans see The Waters as a living, breathing movement. It represents the evolution of "Me, Myself and I", with gulfs, rivers and seas each wading everyone through the flow of life.

The presentation translates into a consciousness of self and attempts to answer the question, "Who and what am I" With the answer being, "I am the sum of many parts. I am the survivor of many experiences. I am conscious of my own essence of self".

The band consists of eight waterways (sections) Birth: The River Jordan; Growth: Sea of Galilee; Transformation: Caribbean Sea; Conflict: Ncome River; Rage: Red Sea; Ruin: The Dead Sea; Redemption: Yellow Sea and Consciousness of Self: Sarawati River.

The story commences with The Uprising on Carnival Monday. This represents the precursor to birth. During this period there is no awareness of one's surroundings and social environment.

On Carnival Monday all masqueraders will be dressed in white unisex convertible jumpers symbolising unconsciousness. The convertible jumper has been intentionally made with several zippers that tear away thereby symbolising the tearing away of the "embryonic sack".

On Carnival Tuesday, colour is introduced and the journey to self-actualisation will begin.

While the twins are new as designers, they are the children of a textile importer so they have history when it comes to textiles.

They have been sketching costumes for years and after witnessing and partaking in Carnival for 20 years they believe there is a growing need for "change, re-birth and re-evolution".

They hope to be the faces of change, the