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Unveiling the Plinths

Banksy artwork returns to Folkestone and a new project launches to celebrate creativity and community

A well-known artwork has returned to the streets of Folkestone, Kent. A painting by street artist Banksy has been re-installed on Folkestone’s Old High Street in the heart of the Creative Quarter. To celebrate the return of the artwork, Creative Folkestone has announced a new art project that celebrates creativity.

Art Buff, the artwork by Banksy, was originally installed in Folkestone in 2014 with Banksy stating the work as “part of the Folkestone triennial. Kind of”. Art Buff was on display for barely a month before being removed from the wall and shipped for sale in the United States. Following a legal campaign by Creative Folkestone the artwork was reclaimed and has now returned to the town. The artwork, which shows a woman gazing at an empty plinth, sparked the idea for Creative Folkestone to create The Plinth.

Celebrating community and creativity

Creative Folkestone plinth project

From Friday 18 September to Sunday 8 November, 10 vacant plinths will be placed in beautiful and unique, outdoor locations around Folkestone. Creative Folkestone is inviting residents and visitors to find a plinth and to use them to display their lockdown creations, artistic talents and special objects in celebration of Folkestone, community and creativity.

Earlier this year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, Creative Folkestone was forced to change the way it works to protect the local community and reduce the spread of Coronavirus. They responded by closing the doors to their theatre, Quarterhouse, and postponing the Folkestone Triennial. Since then, Creative Folkestone has adapted its approach to continue delivering a creative programme that supports and inspires the people of Folkestone and surrounding areas. The Plinth offers a unique opportunity providing a space to showcase artistic talent, display meaningful objects and share ideas.

Alastair Upton, Chief Executive, Creative Folkestone said:

“Folkestone is creative. The people of this town never cease to inspire me and the work that we do here at Creative Folkestone. By returning the Banksy to the Creative Quarter and presenting The Plinth we hope that we can inspire others to get creative this autumn. After everything that has happened this year we are proud to be offering space for people to get creative once again.”

People are invited to find a plinth in Folkestone, display their work, take a picture and share it on social media to become part of a big online exhibition. Alongside the empty plinths, there are also three specially commissioned plinths with works by Folkestone-based artists Malcolm Allen, Maureen Jordan and Tomas Poblete. In addition, there will be a performance plinth painted on the floor of Payers Park by street artist Toze One. The performance plinth will host a curated programme of music, dance, spoken word and more.

Creative Folkestone plinth folkestone gasworks

Pioneering Plinth

Celebrating the historic Folkestone Gas Works site on Foord Road – the focus on Pioneering Places activities in Folkestone – a special plinth has been positioned at the site alongside Jyll Bradley’s 2014 Triennial piece, Green/Light (for M.R.). Further artworks for the site have already been commissioned for the next Creative Folkestone Triennial – now rescheduled to September 2021 due to Covid-19.

Schools and community programmes

Despite the barriers presented by Covid-19, Creative Folkestone is continuing to find ways to put creativity at the heart of daily life both online and in person. Creative Folkestone has been busy working with schools and community partners across the town to ensure that as many people as possible can take part. This includes 16 schools that will each receive a plinth for a week during the project to use as an educational and creative tool. Plus, Young Carers, Age UK, Mind, Homestart and The Shed youth centre will also receive art packs and resources as a starting point for making. Online resources will also be available to get creative at home.

To find out more, or to follow the project as it grows, visit www.creativefolkestone.org.uk and follow the hashtag #FolkestonePlinth

About The Plinth

The Plinth is a participatory art project created by Creative Folkestone. The project will run from Friday 18 September to Sunday 8 November. Residents and visitors to Folkestone are invited to use the vacant plinths to celebrate their creativity and join a big online exhibition using #FolkestonePlinth.

There will be a full programme of education and family workshop activities.

There will also three artist commissioned plinths. The commissioned artists are Malcolm Allen, Maureen Jordan and Tomas Poblete.

Maureen Jordan is a Northern Irish artist, born in Belfast, now based in Folkestone, Kent. Her work is rooted in her cultural identity, but she responds to the influences, stories and voices that shape a particular place and time. Throughout her career she has worked with many artists in diverse contexts: touring theatre companies, university departments, EU projects, Arts Council England and recently with Creative Folkestone. Since 2009, she has been developing her own art practice, exhibiting, undertaking commissions and creating installations. In 2016 she completed an MA in Fine Art at UCA Canterbury and in 2017 won the Ashurst Emerging Sculptor Award.

Malcolm Allen is an artist based in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter. For Malcolm, art, and more specifically painting, have proven to be the most beneficial and selfish of therapies. Much of Malcolm Allen’s artistic practice explores his own history of addiction and journey through sobriety. For The Plinth, Malcolm has continued this exploration through themes of time (and forgotten years), and caution to others not to believe everything we are presented with.

Tomas Poblete’s work has been exhibited in the U.K, Europe the Middle East and China. As a curator his vision and approach juxtapose high and low cultures on a levelled field. He is Co-Founder & Director of Hop Projects CT20. For The Plinth, Tomas’s work draws on his experience of growing up in Chile and current life in Folkestone. Tomas hopes his work builds a continuum of delight, where every other day is literal and primary in its relations to the realities of Folkestone’s imagined memories.

Toze One started his career as a street dancer in 1980, he has performed on stage and on television on numerous occasions, he moved on to become a DJ and music producer in the Electro & Hip Hop genres, working with Hip Hop luminaries such as Shabba Doo. Graffiti & street art were always a passion and were undertaken since 1982, Toze One has exhibited locally and in London alongside many well-known street artists, he also curated what may have been the first Street Art exhibition held in the UK at the St Georges Gallery in Folkestone, and moving with the times Toze One took up digital art & design.

This project has been made possible thanks to our supporters, funders and key stakeholders. A special thanks to Folkestone and Hythe District Council, The Folkestone Harbour Company, The Leas Cliff Hall and Southeastern for their help securing locations.

About Banksy’s Art Buff

Art Buff is a graffiti artwork by Banksy which was created in Folkestone in 2014, Banksy announcing it as “part of the Folkestone triennial. Kind of”. The work depicts a woman wearing headphones and staring at a plinth, upon which rests a patch of painted-out graffiti. The name of the piece is a play on words, “buff” being a slang term for the painting over of graffiti. During early November 2014 Robin Barton and Bankrobber London organized the removal of Art Buff from its Folkestone location following requests from the owners of the wall and announced plans to put it up for sale. On 27 November 2014, the work was flown to Miami Art Basel to be offered for sale. On 11 September 2015, a British judge ruled that the mural was public property and had to be returned to Folkestone. The artwork has now been returned to Folkestone in the courtyard of 69 The Old High Street, which is accessible to the public.

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