Launch dates announced for England’s Creative Coast: Waterfronts

A series of art commissions connecting the outstanding arts organisations and landscape along the South East coast, which runs from 16 April until 8 November 2020.

England’s Creative Coast: Waterfronts
16 April – 8 November 2020
Launches in Margate with Turner Contemporary on 16 April 2020

Margate. Photo Visit Thanet

Margate. Photo Visit Thanet

Led by Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent, this pioneering partnership sees Cement Fields, Creative Folkestone, the De La Warr Pavilion, Hastings Contemporary, Metal, Turner Contemporary and Towner Eastbourne coming together for the first time to present Waterfronts — seven outdoor art commissions each situated on and made in response to the Essex, Kent and East Sussex coastlines. The partnership will also launch the world’s first art GeoTour.

England’s Creative Coast launches in Margate on 16 April 2020 with the first of the Waterfronts commissions, ‘April is the cruellest month’ by the Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz, together with new geocaches created by local people. The first commission will open on Turner Contemporary’s ninth birthday, marking nine years to the day since the gallery opened in 2011. The project is principally funded by Arts Council England and VisitEngland through the Discover England Fund.

 Over the course of spring and summer in 2020, the England’s Creative Coast trail will be revealed, with each partner arts organisation launching a Waterfronts commission and their part of the GeoTour:

Saturday, 23 May – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea presents Holly Hendry: ‘Invertebrate’
Hastings Contemporary presents Andreas Angelidakis: ‘Seawall’

 Saturday, 6 June – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
Creative Folkestone presents Pilar Quinteros: ‘Janus’ Fortress Folkestone’
The commission will also be part of Folkestone Triennial 2020

 Saturday, 13 June – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
Towner Eastbourne presents Mariana Castillo Deball (title to be confirmed)

Saturday, 25 July – Sunday, 8 November 2020:
Cement Fields in Gravesend presents Jasleen Kaur: ‘The first thing I did was to kiss the ground’

Metal in Southend-on-Sea presents Katrina Palmer: ‘Hello’ and ‘Retreat’
The commissions will also be part of Estuary 2020

Spanning 1400km of shoreline from the South Downs to the Thames Estuary, this beautiful and dramatic landscape has inspired artists for centuries. England’s Creative Coast offers visitors the chance to explore seaside towns alive with creativity, the breath-taking coastal landscape, thought-provoking art commissions and geocaches created by the communities that live there in a digital treasure trail that extends into the surrounding landscape.

De La Warr Pavilion. Photo Visit England

De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea

Sarah Dance, Project Director of England’s Creative Coast, explains her vision for the project: England’s Creative Coast is about connections — connecting people to places, artists with the coast, creative organisations with landscape and with each other, and visitors to the history of the people and places on the coast. Ultimately, it is about using the power of partnership to forge human connections: allowing people to explore a place, an artwork, and its community, together.”

 England’s Creative Coast links the cultural destinations across this region for the first time, encouraging visitors to move to and between these distinctive places, now easier to reach with improved rail links such as Southeastern’s High Speed service from London.

Victoria Pomery OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary, says: “We’re delighted to be leading this innovative project across Kent, Essex and East Sussex. As we approach our 10th anniversary year in 2021, Turner Contemporary has demonstrated that art plays a vital role in driving social and economic regeneration. This major cultural tourism project spans a large geographical area, connecting people and places through a series of ambitious public art commissions. Through collaborations with artists, galleries, arts organisations and tourism providers, England’s Creative Coast celebrates the cultural richness of the South East and the importance of creativity, which is vital for developing skills, tourism and the economy as a whole.”

 About Waterfronts
Curated by Tamsin Dillon, the Waterfronts art commissions explore the liminal space between land and water on this natural and political border of the South East of the UK. The seven internationally recognised artists bring their own perspectives to these specific places, each with its own layered histories and complexities.

Dillon states: “Each artist has taken a combination of facts, stories, issues, questions, subjects, topics and histories — whether social, natural or geological — as inspiration for a new work. The works themselves reflect the artists’ interest in or response to the shifting and unstable nature of many social, political, and ecological situations across the world.”

About the artists

Andreas Angelidakis (b. 1968, Athens)
In Hastings, Hastings Contemporary presents ‘Seawall’ by Andreas Angelidakis. For Waterfronts, Angelidakis is considering the encroaching ocean and the ongoing discussion around climate change, coastal erosion and the physical and political impact this has on a place as inspiration for his new work. He will use the human response to flooding through the invention of sea defence mechanisms to ask, ‘can the border between land and sea become a habitable place?’

Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975, Mexico City)
In Eastbourne, Towner Eastbourne presents Mariana Castillo Deball. Deball’s diverse, kaleidoscopic practice combines visual art with archaeology, science and history to make installations, performances, sculptures and text-based pieces. She focuses on different forms and languages to reveal the role of objects and stories in our histories and identities. For Waterfronts, Deball will draw on both the ancient and more recent geological and social history of the area to create some new walking routes linking the town with the neighbouring South Downs.

Holly Hendry (b. 1990, London)
In Bexhill-on-Sea, the De La Warr Pavilion presents Holly Hendry. Hendry makes sculptures and installations that give physical form to ideas around emptiness, edges, absence, flatness, fakes and forgeries. For Waterfronts, Hendry will investigate the precise boundary between land and water and the impact on one by the other. Her new work outside the Pavilion will connect with a simultaneous exhibition of her work inside the building.

Jasleen Kaur (b. 1986, Glasgow)
In North Kent, Cement Fields presents Jasleen Kaur. Kaur’s work reconsiders the realities of materiality, usage and daily routine within the everyday things that surround us. Her refashioned objects are based on instinct and resourcefulness, reflecting a hybridity of national custom. Kaur’s new work for Waterfronts will be a response to the connections between the diverse communities in Gravesend and also forms part of Estuary 2020.

 Katrina Palmer (b. 1967, London)
In Southend-on-Sea, Metal presents Katrina Palmer. Palmer works with stories that are distributed across found sites, audio environments, printed matter and performance. For Waterfronts, Palmer will explore and investigate the areas in and around Southend-on-Sea and look to reveal the way they are shaped by cultural, political, emotional and mechanical forces. This work will also form part of Estuary 2020.

Pilar Quinteros (b. 1988, Santiago)
In Folkestone, Creative Folkestone presents Pilar Quinteros. Quinteros’ work is underpinned by an abiding interest in public spaces, the way they function and the diversity of human behaviour within them. She experiments with both structure and material, testing the boundaries, resilience and resistance of fragile and unstable materials. For Waterfronts, Quinteros presents ‘Janus’ Fortress Folkestone’, a new multifaceted work which is also part of Folkestone Triennial 2020.

Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York)
Nasher Prize for Sculpture winner and Fourth Plinth artist, Rakowitz’s practice draws on the histories of buildings and objects, frequently revealing stories and connections between people and places from different times and places. For Waterfronts, Rakowitz will focus on connecting the social and geological histories of Margate, exploring coastal borders as places of conflict and migration, by linking the Kent seaside town with the Iraqi port of Basra in a new work entitled ‘April is the cruellest month’.

All commissions subject to relevant planning permissions.

Michael Rakowitz, The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, 2020

Michael Rakowitz, The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, 2020

England’s Creative Coast also includes:

The world’s first art GeoTour
Using geocaching, the GPS-enabled digital treasure hunt technology, communities from each of the seven locations are invited to share their personal stories of what it’s like to live in that particular coastal place, or respond to the new artwork in their town and give visitors a new way to interact with the landscape.

Local people from each location are working with each partner arts organisation to create new caches (containers hidden within the landscape featuring rewards) that will lead visitors on a ‘Geotour’ of the region — the first ever art geocache tour in the world. Through gaming, travellers will enjoy an authentic experience of the place they’re visiting. By working with local people, the partner galleries will connect with their communities in new ways, enabling the exploration of place and art by visitors as never before.



Art Homes
England’s Creative Coast is trialling a pioneering new Art Homes accommodation offer in Margate and other coastal towns in Kent. As these exciting cultural destinations respond to the demand for hosting more and more people, the pilot tests a new kind of overnight offer where artists open their homes to host visitors and homestay hosts connect with artists and creative experiences to offer a different kind of stay: one where they might be able to buy art, take part in an artist-led activity, dine with local creatives or be taken on a tour of their studio. The pilot is taking place throughout 2020. The learnings from the pilot will inform future Art Homes across England’s Creative Coast, offering a creative overnight trip for visitors for the first time.

Self-build itineraries
In response to the changing way that travellers want to take greater control of planning their trip, personalising it to suit their tastes and budget and the desire to ‘live like a local’, England’s Creative Coast offers a new website affiliated to local businesses as well as key travel operators across the region. Developed by Visit Kent, the website enables visitors to curate their own journeys, in a pick and mix style, offering a variety of cultural experiences across England’s Creative Coast, as well as recommendations for the best food, drink and accommodation for a complete cultural travel experience.

Visitors’ exploration of England’s Creative Coast can be extended with further cultural adventures in Medway at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, and across Essex at Gunners Park, Shoeburyness, Paglesham in Rochford, Jaywick Martello Tower, Naze Tower at Walton on the Naze, and Harwich.

England’s Creative Coast is principally funded by Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations programme and VisitEngland through the Discover England Fund, with support from a number of key investors, including; the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Kent County Council, East Sussex County Council, Essex County Council, Visit Essex, Southend Borough Council, Experience West Sussex, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and Southeastern.

The investment follows the successful Cultural Destinations programme 1 project Culture Kent. This three-year project brought cultural and tourism organisations together to reposition Kent as the UK’s creative county, through a series of pilot events and artworks. In-depth research undertaken as part of the project revealed that cultural tourists to Kent have a higher propensity to visit for longer than ‘regular’ tourists, generating more spend for the local economy. This research informed the planning for England’s Creative Coast.


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