Paula the Polar Bear will arrive in Margate in July

Paula the Polar Bear Photo Oliver Soulas/Greenpeace

Paula the Polar Bear will arrive in Margate on Thursday, July 26 as part of Turner Contemporary’s summer exhibition Animals & Us .

Taking the show out of the gallery, Paula, a life-sized puppet, will wander through the town, sparking thought provoking conversations about climate change and how humans can co-exist with animals.

Paula the Polar Bear is travelling to Margate thanks to the support of 292 funders who donated to Turner Contemporary’s first ever crowdfunding campaign via Art Happens, Art Fund’s crowdfunding platform.

The appeal raised £19,288.

Paula the Polar Bear on tour in Northern Germany Photo Mauricio Bustamante

Because of ongoing and potential loss of their sea ice habitat resulting from climate change, polar bears were listed as a threatened species in the US under the Endangered Species Act in May 2008. With Margate’s beach as the backdrop, Turner Contemporary navigators will accompany Paula, breaking the ice with conversation starters about climate change. It will be the first – and possibly last! – time that a Polar Bear has been seen in Margate.

At Turner Contemporary, Animals & Us has already attracted large audiences. The gallery welcomed over 11,500 visits during the half term week, making the exhibition the most popular summer half term at Turner Contemporary in the last four years.

Writer and naturalist Helen MacDonald opened exhibition saying: “It’s a menagerie up there and I was just knocked out… I’ve never been here before and it’s astonishing.”

Mark Dion Mobile Wilderness Unit Wolf, 2006 Georg Kargl, Vienna Photo: Lisa Rastl, courtesy: Georg Kargl, Vienna

In the galleries, a series of animal masks have proved popular with a range of visitors from families to Instagrammers to Sir Roger Gale MP. The hand-crafted masks were commissioned from Margate-based maker, Sophie Dodgson.

Paula the Polar will appear at Turner Contemporary at 11am, 11.30am, 12pm, 12.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 3.30pm and 4pm, on the following dates:

Thursday 26 July

Thursday 2 August

Thursday 9 August

Thursday 16 August

Thursday 23 August

Saturday 28 July

Saturday 4 August

Saturday 11 August

Saturday 18 August

Saturday 25 August

Sunday 29 July

Sunday 5 August

Sunday 12 August

Sunday 19 August

Sunday 26 August

Animals & Us

Animals & Us is a major exhibition exploring artists’ reflections on the relationship between humans and other animals. The exhibition focuses on contemporary and 20th century art with select historical artworks, new works and commissions. It comes at a time when around 38% of all known species are on the verge of extinction. With the death of Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros, Animals & Us is a re-examination by over 40 artists of how humans coexist and connect with other living species.

Find more here