British artist Tracey Emin is founding a revolutionary art school and museum in her beloved hometown of Margate. Emin’s foray into property development will see the seaside town, long afflicted by a high poverty rate, transform into an artist’s sanctuary.
In the 1990’s, Emin rose to fame for her poignant and often shocking artwork. Her seminal pieces included ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995’, a tent with 102 names appliquéd across the material, and the notoriously iconic ‘My Bed’, which was quite literally a dishevelled bed. Responding to critics who at the time claimed anyone could make her work, Emin protested “well, they didn’t, did they? No one had ever done that before.“
Now the Turner Prize-nominated artist has launched TKE (Tracey Karima Emin) Studios. The school, located in a former bathhouse, will house 30 workspaces where students must publicly display artworks. Rent will be low for the area, which Emin says will discourage artists from working part-time jobs and instead give them “time to work and paint.”
“People will have to apply, and there’ll be really strict rules,” she said in an interview with The Times. “No subletting, no smoking, no loud music. And if people don’t want to do the rules then they won’t have a studio there.”
An artist’s residency programme at a separate location will accompany the studios, motivating artists to permanently move to Margate. Emin returned to the seaside town where she had lived as a child after her mother passed away in 2009.
Following a bladder cancer diagnosis and intensive treatment to save her life, Emin recently developed a brand new outlook on life, declaring “I desire to be a part of this world”. She also plans to convert a Kent mortuary into a small museum filled with her own work, preserving her own legacy for future generations.
Emin concluded “you know in life you sort of amble around, and you don’t know what you’re doing, but you know you’re doing something? And then suddenly you see the light. You go: ‘Oh my God, that’s what I’m doing!’ Well, with Margate now, especially after the cancer and everything, it’s all making sense what I’m doing. I am sort of helping. I am making an artist’s haven.”