Who Will Be The Last To Forget This Place

Tomas Poblete

Curated by Claire Oduwole & Tomas Poblete

2020, Folkestone & Dunkirk

01 – 16 May 2021

Opening: Friday 30 April 2021, 5-9pm⁠

#residencies&exchange #painting #artunderlockdown

Magic and memory are intertwined to become the subject, and non-subject of Chilean-born artist Tomas Poblete’s series of new paintings Who’ll be the last To Forget This Place, exploring the fragmented memories of childhood, patriarchy, loss, and a search for gold.

Using folkloric magical motifs as a structural form through which his experiences are manifested, Poblete populates the empty space with fragments of childhood memories, directed by the paint in rapid, definite brush strokes. Employing a practice where “the paint decides”, the artist builds textural layers that recollect stories of Antofagasta on the coast of North West Chile, and his grandfather’s quest of crossing the desert in search of gold, serving as a metaphor for the possibilities of the imagined outside world.

Created in two parts, triggered by the unexpected deaths of Poblete’s father and grandfather, the artist painted the first series in Folkestone. The second, completed during a residency at Dunkirk’s La Plate-Forme during the first lockdown of 2020, found the artist creating a series of preliminary sketches inspired by the compulsory wearing of masks, depicting the expressionless face as a motif symbolic of the void which can be seen in several of the finished works.

Kite Flying features the words Kite and Vuele “flying” in Spanish also tijeras (scissors) and papel (paper), saturated with the yellow of the Antofagastan desert and inhabited by a magical pony. A boot looms as large as the monumental landscape and text draw out memories of the Antofagastan Fiestas Patrias tradition of kite flying in September to mark independence from the Spanish after the Napoleonic wars. 

The centrepiece, a large scale diptych titled The Hare, presents an uncomfortable tension between an uninhabited cowboy hat and the fleeing animal. Saturated in saccharin pink it forms part of an immersive if unsettling installation at CT20 that confronts fragility and misplaced identity head on.


Words by Claire Oduwole

Images by Nina Shen

Opening as part of April’s Last Fridays Folkestone event, Tomas Poblete’s work was presented in our gallery at 73 Tontine Street, Folkestone each weekend until May 16th.

Currently residing in Folkestone, Tomas Poblete is a Chilean born multi-disciplinary artist and graduate of Camberwell College of Arts and Glasgow School of Art. ‘Who’ll be the last To Forget This Place’ forms part of a series of cross-disciplinary curatorships at HOP Project CT20, produced at La Plate-Forme and HOP Studio as part of the HOP Project CT20 exchange programme and guest curated by UK fashion designer and co-founder of Pokit, Claire Oduwole.⁠