Boulders at Westbrook promenade are being covered in silver tape – here’s why

Helder Clara is creating an installation for the Margate Festival

If you have walked along the promenade at Westbrook today (September 14) you may have spotted a man covering boulders with silver tape.

Artist Helder Clara is clambering over the rocks and using the tape to create his installation Now you see me Now you don’t, as part of the Margate Festival.

Portuguese-born Helder, who has been living in Margate and London since 1994, says the installation reflects loss and pain at the passing of another person. The boulders will reflect and shimmer the light until it disappears.

He is working to cover as many boulders as possible, today replacing tape that was removed last night, and says the art work will remain at the prom – opposite the Strokes crazy golf – for the duration of the 17 day festival.

Helder is a self-taught artist  who has been involved with Turner Contemporary as a Cultural Ambassador and has worked from Resort Studios in Cliftonville. He is featured by Saatchi Art and worked with fellow artisans including Dan Thompson and Dawn Cole on the From Wasteland to Wasteland  project in response to the Lochnagar Crater, France and T S Eliot’s poem The Waste Land. This project included a homage to soldiers with 100 Poppies, creating a quilt, poetry and walking events.

He said: “The installation will be here for the 17 days of the festival and I will keep working on it. I am pushing to do as many boulders as possible.”

Asked whether there was a risk of pollution Helder said: “It doesn’t go below the water line. The covering won’t dislodge or go in the water and all of it will be removed at the end of the festival with no risk of pollution or risk to wildlife. All my work is environmentally friendly and conscious and those who may have concerns need not.”

The Margate festival – themed Now – features more than 60 events at 30 venues from today (September 14) to September 30.

There are poets in cafes , sound installations, exhibitions, unexpected  signs, projection, performance, workshops,  print, poetry, drama, photography, painting, walks, tours, video and film screenings.

Find the full line up here