Lubaina Himid has collected ceramic jelly moulds for many years, and often adds to them her own painted pattern decorations. In 2010, in Liverpool, she laid out 30 Victorian moulds on a green table, as if they were architectural maquettes for a park, in an exhibition paying tribute to the Black community, recalling the slave trade and sugar plantations. One of these was realised as a full-scale pavilion in Folkestone. It sits looking out to sea on the former ‘Rotunda’ site, which was until recently filled with amusement arcades, a roller coaster and a Lido Pool, the sugar of candy floss and toffee apples fuelling the fun of summer visitors.
Lubaina Himid’s ‘Jelly Mould Pavilions Project’ fits seamlessly into the wider trajectory of her work, which seeks to commemorate the contribution made by the people of the African Diaspora to the history, culture and rich fabric of Europe and North America. She proposes dialogue, honest conversation, an exchange of memories, as a way to approach the trauma and apparently permanent (ongoing) impact of the historic exploitation. A public pavilion offers the opportunity for conversation and invites contemplation.