The Margate Now Festival, which this year will be curated by Black Lives Matter organisers People Dem Collective, kicks off on September 25 with a range of events celebrating contemporary culture.
This year the festival aims to increase online cultural activity and deliver a range of socially distanced events.
Following an open call and ‘Activation’ by People Dem Collective, which encouraged proposals from Black, Brown and Diaspora communities, more than 30 artists are taking part in the festival responding to the theme ‘NOW’.
Throughout Margate NOW 2020, Everydayracism will be displaying excerpts of stories on shop windows from BIPOC (black, Indigenous and people of color) about their experiences of racism in the UK.
Leondre Ansah will be producing his first exhibition ‘Colour Blind’ following a mentorship with local printmaker Charlie Evaristo-Boyce, showcasing three works in the windows of Resort Studios that investigate white guilt.
‘The Margate Kebab Map’, by Umut Gunduz and Anna Skutley, is a playable documentary game which profiles kebab restaurants in the area and aims to highlight a group often overlooked and include them in the conversation about culture.
To celebrate Black History Month in October, People Dem Collective is inviting local young communities to collaborate with them and artist Ben Connors. The collaboration will result in a huge evolving mural on the shopfronts under Arlington House.
Visitors will be able to watch this take shape over the course of the festival. The project is supported by Kent County Council and county councillor Barry Lewis.
Margate Festival’s collaboration with People Dem Collective is in response to current protests and upheaval, and the beginning of an ongoing partnership.
People Dem Collective is a community group based in Margate whose mission is to “facilitate systemic change, promote healing and continue the work of our ancestors”. Margate Festival says the guest curator appointment is part of seeking to open a growing relationship and dialogue with Black, Brown and Diaspora communities in Thanet.
The group says: “People Dem Collective believes the collaboration with Margate Festival has been a vital first step, for tackling systemic racism in the arts locally. Already we have seen within a short period of time, Black and Brown communities getting down with the festival and adding their spice.”
They are currently fundraising to create the People Dem Collective Cultural Centre on Margate seafront, open to all communities and visitors. Find out more at https://www.crowdfunder.co.
Margate NOW 2020 is delivered by Margate Festival CIC with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Kent County Council, Thanet District Council and South East Creatives.
The festival programme includes co-commissioned projects with POW! Thanet, Looping the Loop, Cllr Barry Lewis and support from A+C Studios.
More Margate Now highlights
Brigitte Aphrodite’s ‘An Ode to Our Town’ is a love poem, spoken-word vignette to Margate which will be available to watch online throughout Margate NOW 2020. Including favourite hidden haunts, surprising meet up places, characters, cafes and independent shops, it will paint an in-depth, truthful, joyful poetry picture of the town and the people that make it amazing to be in.
Jas Dhillon’s display of screen printed dupattas in Punjabi, ‘Expressions of Love’, will be displayed throughout the festival in a prominent window in Margate. Born from a desire to preserve the poetic blessings from her grandma in India, the hanging scarves symbolise the power and beauty of language, the gift of love, and its ability to transcend oceans, borders and realms.
Look out to sea while listening to ‘Work. Workers. Working.’ by writer/activist Joana Nastari and directed by Jess Edwards on your mobile device. Everyone has been affected by lockdown – they explore the specific experiences of sex workers. How have they adapted? Have they moved to working online? Are some people breaking lockdown and doing in person work anyway?
Head to Margate Beach in October (dates are weather dependent, check website beforehand) to see Rory Strudwick’s ‘Wind-Breaker Mural’ – a giant windbreaker with an abstract representation of Margate’s growth as a town across the past 10 years.
Margate NOW 2020 runs from Friday, September 25 to Sunday, October 11.