Sami, the Lady Somerset Road camel, gets a glowing makeover

Humpback is filled with concrete to stop thieves running off with Kentish Town landmark

Thursday, 18th July 2019 — By Caitlin Allen

Highgate Road Camel 1

Sami has sat outside a carpet shop in Kentish Town for more than 30 years [Photo: Frank Chalmers]

A LIFE-SIZE fibreglass camel that has sat outside a specialist rug shop has had a striking artistic makeover.

The Kentish Town landmark, which has been outside Orientalist carpet shop on the corner of Highgate Road and Lady Somerset Road for 30 years, has been restored with decorative tassels and bright, glowing colours.

Iranian artist Farzaneh Yousefi, pictured, spent four days working on the camel after being commissioned by the shop’s owner, Houshang Sakhai.

He said: “Anytime people look at the camel, they have a smile. And that makes me happy.”

Mr Sakhai said he planned to put a small rug down and perhaps even a table, so that people can sit next to it in the summer.

Mr Sakhai opened the shop in 1984 and the camel came along four years later, a present from a friend who had brought it over from “somewhere in Arabia”, he said.

It is filled it with concrete so nobody can take it away and is sometimes called “Sami” by the shopworkers.

Ms Yousefi, who has worked for Tehran Museum, spent seven days painting on the colourful coat and making a leash using carpet pieces from inside the shop.

“I was inspired by the colours I’ve found in the handmade rugs and carpets you can see inside the shop,” she said.

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