Posted: 25th June 2018

There’s a new piece of art at Dreamland and it comes in the form of the next commission for the Mural by the Sea project.

For this, artists locally and nationally are commissioned to create an artwork that fills the giant billboard outside Dreamland’s Hall by the Sea. With a completely open brief, it can never be predicted what the artists will come up with and it’s really exciting to see how they interpret the space.

Tess Acheson, who runs Mural by the Sea with Dreamland, tells us more about the new artwork by Emma Gibson…

Mural By The Sea Save yourselves Emma Gibson Dreamland Margate 5

The bright, plastic, pop colours of the previous mural, ‘Everyday Plastic’ (a photograph of the plastic that artist Daniel Webb collected over a year) are in stark contrast to the brooding dark algae covered concrete hues of now installed ‘Save Yourselves.’ Yet the messages are curiously similar; both can be read as depressing and overwhelming, however both narratives speak of hope, personal and collective responsibility.

Having moved to Margate five years ago, artist Emma Gibson’s work is steeped in research, memories and a response to her environment. Like most seaside towns, Margate once had a huge wooden ‘pier’ protruding 1,100 feet out into the sea. Categorised as a ‘Lost Pier’ by the National Piers Society, the ‘Jarvis Landing Stage,’ (catchy) connected to the land at the backside of the root of the Harbour Arm, now directly in front of Turner Contemporary. 

Mural By The Sea Save Yourselves Emma Gibson Dreamland Margate 2

Image courtesy of Margate Museum, copyright Thanet District Council.

This convergence is brutal and beautiful and certainly looks as if something is architecturally ‘missing’. As only the sea knows how, it has claimed the concrete by covering it in vivid green algae and now matches the Antony Gormley sculpture which too, awaits some sort of arrival.

Mural By The Sea Save Yourselves Emma Gibson Dreamland Margate 3

Image courtesy of Margate Museum, copyright Thanet District Council.

The Jetty was the jewel of Margate; providing both function and entertainment. Halfway down you could find the lifeboat launch station and at the end, a model railway exhibition, octagonal pavilion, tea shop and more. This bustling and popular, 5p entry, ‘Margate leisure centre’ was the mid-point of the coastal stroll from Dreamland to The Lido.

20 years ago this year, after being subjected to several (failed) attempts to blow it up with dynamite, damaged via a drifting vessel and breached by storms, the pier was finally dismantled. Huge amounts of debris in the form of timber, metal and fixings were salvaged from the beach and the sea by residents.

Mural By The Sea Save Yourselves Emma Gibson Dreamland Margate 1

Image courtesy of Margate Museum, copyright Thanet District Council.

Gibson has tracked the stories, memories and artefacts that still remain as pieces from the pier and has mapped them across the town. A map will soon be available which will take you on this treasure hunt.

The third Mural-by-The-Sea commission is a photograph featuring a horseshoe lifebuoy that reads 'Save Yourselves.’ Gibson says “It serves as a metaphor for the fair-weather favour of seaside towns. The piece is reflective of seaside townsfolk and life. Time and time again we save ourselves through reinvention, resilience and the ever-turning tides of favour. On a personal note the message is about survival, but the ring's horseshoe shape also symbolises hope and acknowledges more widely that we also save each other - not to mention those who save lives at sea."

The pride of the town, celebrated throughout the UK, loved by everyone, lost by everyone, loathed by everyone and now with rose tinted hindsight, ready to be loved again. Margate is having another moment, tides are high, but they will ebb again.

Mural By The Sea Edition 3/5 SaveYourselves from Tom Shrapnel on Vimeo.

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