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Folkestone filled with art from previous Triennials


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Following the announcement that the fifth Folkestone Triennial has been postponed until next year, we take a look at some of the more memorable pieces from the art festivals of years past.

Baby Things:

At the first triennial in 2008 Tracey Emin scattered bronze simulacra of baby clothes and items around the town - tucked under benches, hanging from railings and lying by a kerb.

Tracey Emin's Baby Things were scattered through the town in 2008. Photograph: Thierry Bal
Tracey Emin's Baby Things were scattered through the town in 2008. Photograph: Thierry Bal

Exuding an aura of the forlorn and dejected, they were a poignant reminder of Folkestone’s high teenage pregnancy rate, similar to that of Margate, Emin’s home town.

The Folkestone Mermaid:

Folkestone’s answer to Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid - the Folkestone Mermaid, by Cornelia Parker - was a commission for the 2011 Triennial.

The Folkestone Mermaid by Cornelia Parker
The Folkestone Mermaid by Cornelia Parker

Her watchful gaze looks out over the horizon, alluding to the threat of rising sea levels and endangered populations living by the sea.

The life-size bronze cast is, however, not a lookalike of the Copenhagen Mermaid, but a real person, a free spirit and is that of local mother of two, Georgina Baker.

Earth Peace:

Six years ago, Yoko Ono - Beatles member John Lennon's widow - created a poster adorning the words Earth Peace.

Curator of Folkestone Triennial Lewis Biggs walks past Yoko Ono's display. Picture: Paul Amos
Curator of Folkestone Triennial Lewis Biggs walks past Yoko Ono's display. Picture: Paul Amos

It was placed at Folkestone Central station, greeting people arriving in the town, and also in the form of a flag on top of The Grand on The Leas.

The stark artwork was in the same style of the campaign posters the Japanese artist and her late husband put up in 1969 with the words: “War is Over! (If you want it).”

Folkestone Digs:

Also in 2014, 30 small bars of gold, in two different sizes, were buried in the sand at Outer Harbour beach in a project from Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer.

As part of the 2014 Triennial 30 gold medallions were buried at the beach. Picture: Paul Amos
As part of the 2014 Triennial 30 gold medallions were buried at the beach. Picture: Paul Amos

Hundreds of people got out their shovels and metal detectors to hunt for the precious metal, worth either £250 or £500.

While some lucky people hit the jackpot, it is thought some nuggets could still be buried at the beach even today.

Another Time:

Antony Gormley’s metal statue, titled Another Time, can be found under the Harbour Arm looking towards the sea, after being installed in 2017.

Antony Gormley's statue. Picture: Gary Browne
Antony Gormley's statue. Picture: Gary Browne

Originally just on loan to the town, it was revealed last year that it will be staying put on the loading bay.

Holiday Homes:

Richard Woods designed six colourful bungalows for the 2017 triennial.

They were installed in ‘unlikely’ places around town, suggesting that no site is too small, too unlikely, or too inconvenient for its neighbours, for a holiday home.

One of Richard Woods' Holiday Homes
One of Richard Woods' Holiday Homes

They can be found in Sandgate Road, on the cliff top and floating in the harbour.

The pink house at the seafront has come loose several times, needing to be rescued.

And then there was Art Buff...

In 2014, renowned street artist Banksy contributed his own unofficial piece for the art festival.

Art Buff, painted on the side of Palace Amusements arcade in Payers Park, shows a woman wearing headphones peering over an empty plinth.

Banksy's Art Buff. Picture: Wayne McCabe
Banksy's Art Buff. Picture: Wayne McCabe

It was subjected to graffiti and only six weeks later it was removed and sent to America, where it went on auction in Miami.

But after it failed to sell a legal battle over its ownership saw the painting placed in the hands of Creative Folkestone in 2015, who brought it back to the town.

It remains in storage, with the art group saying it will "be on display at a later date".

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