The mural being created on Margate seafront – and who is behind it

The seafront mural Photo Frank Leppard

Have you noticed the mural being created on the hoardings at Dreamland and wondered what it is about?

The project is headed up by artist Ben Connors working with People Dem Collective to create ‘Black British History – Past & Present Icons’ using artwork submitted by Thanet schoolchildren.

Also involved is artist Leondre Ansah, whose first exhibition ‘Colour Blind’, took place at Resort Studios as part of Margate NOW 2020.

‘Colour Blind was an exploration of the questions: If you don’t see the colour of my skin, how can you see me? If you don’t see a person’s colour then how do you see the struggles that black and brown people have been through?’

Since last year’s festival, Leondre has been assisting Ben with the mural at Dreamland.

Photo Frank Leppard

The Black British History – Past & Present Icons’ project began during Margate NOW 2020 with a zine produced by Sprankenstein Studio. This was shared with young people in Thanet, inviting them to respond to and create artwork. The zine acts as a stepping stone for schools as they begin to think about Black British History and the devices that can be used to teach it.

Ramsgate Arts Primary was the first Thanet school to contribute to the project with children creating artwork last autumn.

The project is supported by Kent County Council and KCC member Barry Lewis and will continue to progress through the summer.

Photo Frank Leppard

It is likely that  People Dem Collective – which headed up Black Lives Matter demos last year and launched plans for a cultural centre – will be allocated space at Dreamland via £4million allocation from the Margate Town Deal fund.

The fund money for will be used towards the renovation and reopening the cinema building, turning it into an entertainment and conference centre with space allocated to community use.

Plans for the cultural centre, which was among the projects submitted for Town Deal consideration, include enrichment programmes for young people, the LGBTQIA+ and the older generations to pass down their stories.

Proposals also include  a flexible educational space, a Black British and Roma/Traveller archive, a permanent exhibition and performance space, a radio station and podcasting suite, a family-friendly restaurant and beachside cafe, little learners play area and studios for artists-in-residence.

£4million Town Deal cash towards entertainment and conference centre plans for Dreamland Cinema