Harold Offeh

Margate's First Beaux Arts Ball

March 13 2010


Thanks to Harold Offeh, Margate will be holding its First Beaux Arts Ball – an event where participants will be given the chance to dress-up as their favourite buildings from the town, before parading along the Seafront and taking part in an exhibition at the Substation.


Margate is famous for its skyline, but visitors to the town wanting to get the best view have a number of locations competing for their attention.


Perhaps they should watch the sunset from the Warpole Bay Hotel. Maybe a view of Margate should take in Dreamland? Should they wait until the Turner Contemporary building, with its panoramic views of the sea, is completed in 2011 - or should they request a ride to the top of the controversial Arlington House tower block?


On Saturday 13 February visitors will have a chance to escape this dilemma as Margate’s favourite buildings parade down the seafront.


The event is based on the 1931 New York Beaux Arts Ball, a high-society event where a group of architects (including William Van Alen, architect of the Chrysler Building,) dressed up as the buildings they designed. Offeh describes the original event as a combination of ‘a highbrow architecture prize and a Butlins fancy dress contest’. He says, “I’m very interested in how people might respond to local architecture, and which buildings they think are worth celebrating. Perhaps Pete’s Fish Factory is more important to some than the Sea Bathing Hospital – who knows?”


“I’m offering a free workshop where people can make the hats and costumes before joining the parade. At the end of the parade the outfits will be exhibited in the Substation and we’ll have a party with a performance by SichtLautTrio.”


Ghanaian-born, Offeh’s previous work in photography, performance and video has largely used role-play as a way of addressing the representation and understanding of identity through the media of popular culture. This has seen him adopt a number of memorable personas, including Mammy – based on actor Hattie McDaniel, the Oscar winner who was typecast following her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind.


On March 14 Limbo will be screening a selection of Harold Offeh's short films.


Making Landmarks free one and a half hour workshops. 11.00am and 1:00pm everyone welcome. Make your favourite Margate building, turn it into a costume and join the parade at 3.30pm along Margate seafront.


Limbo 2010