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What you can see at Folkestone Triennial 2021


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World class art is set to spring up everywhere you look in Folkestone from tomorrow thanks to the Triennial, which is back for a fifth edition.

Organised by Creative Folkestone, the art event which is held every three years - except last year's postponement for the pandemic - started back in 2008 with artists including Tracey Emin, Martin Creed, Lubaina Himid and Yoko Ono.

The Giant Head by Pilar Quinteros
The Giant Head by Pilar Quinteros

Interest has grown with each edition, and at the last event, some 135,000 people visited.

This year's, entitled The Plot, runs from Thursday, July 22 until Tuesday, November 2, and features more than 20 outdoor, newly-commissioned public artworks - from colourful beach huts to monumental sculptured heads to see for free.

For this year, The Plot invites visitors to consider urban myths and their true origins: the gap between fact and fiction.

Site-specific sculptures and installations will be along three routes linked with historic Folkestone tales and, by borrowing from, or lending to these stories, the exhibition raises questions between tales and the urbanism of the town.

Morag Myerscough's Flock of Seagulls Bag of Stolen Chips
Morag Myerscough's Flock of Seagulls Bag of Stolen Chips

Reflecting on the town that hosts them, many of the artworks have been created with, or inspired by, Folkestone’s communities.

Artists have been invited to use the town as their ‘canvas’, utilising public spaces to create striking new art that reflects issues affecting both the town and the wider world.

One work you can see is Jacqueline Donachie’s Beautiful Sunday, a vast dance floor and film celebrating the night-time revellers of Folkestone, honouring the social club which once stood on the site.

Meanwile, Morag Myerscough's Flock of Seagulls Bag of Stolen Chips features colourful designs with phrases contributed by local people.

One of the many works to see in Folkestone
One of the many works to see in Folkestone

Rana Begum has transformed a series of beach huts with a new colour scheme, and designs playing with geometry, colour and light, while Pilar Quinteros' sculptured head, Janus’ Fortress: Folkestone sits on a cliff top with two faces that look both outwards at Europe and inward to England, contemplating the mixed fortunes of what connects us but also divides us.

After the festival has finished, some works will stay as permanent additions to Creative Folkestone Artworks, which currently features 74 artworks from previous Triennials, including Tracey Emin's Baby Things, the Folkestone Mermaid on Sunny Sands beach, and Bill Woodrow's The Edge, all of which are on show permanently, all year round.

Rana Begum's Arpeggio beach huts were commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo: Thierry Bal
Rana Begum's Arpeggio beach huts were commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021. Photo: Thierry Bal

Another legacy of a past Triennial is that there could still be bars of gold hidden in the sand at the Outer Harbour beach near Sunny Sands as part of the installation Folkestone Digs in 2014, which saw 30 individual pieces of 24-carat gold - worth £10,000 - buried at the beach by Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer.

It is not known if they were all found or not.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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