Artist Audio Interview
No. 1054 Arpeggio
Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial 2021 in partnership with Folkestone & Hythe District Council
No. 1054 Arpeggio is the title of Rana Begum’s extraordinary colourful design that transforms around 120 beach huts on the seafront between Folkestone and Sandgate along Lower Saxon Way. The number refers to the sequence of the artist’s completed artworks, while an ‘arpeggio’ is a sequence of notes from a chord played in a rising or descending order.
Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s decision to refurbish its entire stock of beach huts presented Creative Folkestone Triennial with a challenging and idiosyncratic opportunity to commission an artist to make a major artistic statement. Rana Begum’s response to the invitation was both extremely ambitious and also generous, an astonishing blossoming of her studio practice (and its concern with geometry, colour and light) on a vast scale. Her superimposed, graduated colour scheme, and the insistent rhythm of her trademark chevron design, have turned a half-mile marching rank of beach huts into notes of colour on a keyboard, certainly one of the largest and most joyful artworks in the country.
Although No. 1054 Arpeggio is clearly an articulation of colour, it is in fact the play with light itself that is key to Rana’s work – the absorption and reflection of varied densities of light to produce an experience for the viewer that is both temporal and sensorial.She has a talent for the distillation of spatial and visual experience into ordered form, blurring the boundaries between sculpture, painting and architecture.
Rana’s practice draws on her Bangladeshi origins, taking inspiration from the repetitive geometric patterns found within Islamic art and urban architecture. As they are, her work is crystalline, simple, pure and hard-edged. This use of repetitive geometric patterns might be traced back to childhood memories of the rhythmic repetition of daily recitals of the Qur’an.
Rana Begum’s No. 1054 Arpeggio is funded by Folkestone and Hythe District Council
Portrait of Rana Begum by Anne Purkiss
Film by Oliver Parkin. Drone footage by Tom Bishop Photography. Audio interview by Jean Wainwright.