Emin leaves trail of baby clothes through Folkestone as Britart comes to seaside
Artist Tracey Emin is in the news for new work in two very different places this week. First she hits the headlines for her curation of a room in the Royal Academy Summer Show and now for this in in the faded seaside town of Folkstone - a stones throw from where the notorious BritArt Emin was brought up. Both feel like a must vist.
Maria Abbott and her 20-year-old daughter Rachel Brown are in Folkestone to pick up ferrets, unaware that they are an indirect inspiration for a tiny piece of art under a station platform bench a few feet away.
Both were teenage mums. On the platform is a small bronze teddy bear, easy to stub your toe on. It was put there by Tracey Emin along with several other bronzed baby items - a mitten, shawl, bootie and so on - which have been placed around Folkestone as a reflection of the high number of teenage pregnancies across the south-east.
Abbott, who like Emin is from nearby Margate, had her daughter when she was 16: "I was a teenage mother and believe me it's not good. You think you're ready for it but nothing prepares you, although it's obviously turned out all right."
Her daughter followed suit - "I was an underage nan at 32," said Abbott.
The Emin sculptures are part of the first Folkestone Triennial which opens today and continues for the next three months. In total 22 artists including Emin, Mark Wallinger, Jeremy Deller and Nathan Coley have come up with public art that will be spread across a town which has long said goodbye to its glamorous heyday and feels faded.
Emin, like all the artists, had been invited to Folkestone to get inspiration for their work. "For me personally I find a lot of public sculptures very big and very macho and dominating and intrusive. I like little things in public. As I walked around all I kept seeing was lots of young girls with babies, it's like Margate and the whole of the south-east really. I was thinking how could I make something for them."