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Fantastical Worlds

Over the years, students at the Royal Harbour Academy have had the opportunity to work with award winning photographers and artists through workshops with Project MotorHouse. The most recent project has culminated in a truly fantastical exhibition, currently showing at The Wooden Box Gallery (92 High Street, Ramsgate) until 16th July.


Last term, our Year 8 students worked with award-winning photographer, Tim Topple, and Project Motorhouse’s, Jo Mapp. 21 of those students then attended photography and collage workshops during the May half term, with Tim Topple and local artist, Chris Tipping. A former Royal Harbour Academy student, Sam Beard, who is now studying photography and media at Broadstairs College, also assisted the workshops.


Chris Tipping explains how he translated this work into the Fantastical Worlds:


“In 1851 William Powell Frith began his famous painting ‘Ramsgate Sands (Life at the Seaside). In 2011 a Sperm Whale beached at Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate. In 2016 I posted images of plastic Ele[hants on Ramsgate Main Sands, as part of my series Animal Thanet - inspired by real Elephants photographed n beaches at Margate and Broadstairs. Both creatures feature in ‘Fantastical Worlds’.


Twenty-one students form the cast of a fantastical outdoor performance, an ensemble of assorted young characters, who, through imagination and creativity via workshops in photography and collage led by the MotorHouse team, made images which inspired a vision of Ramsgate, both otherworldly and strange, yet still familiar, in which our cast lead a magical performance inspired by real events and Alice in Wonderland inspired fantasy.


Chaos, noise, joy, play, much creative vision and hundreds of images later, our library of photographs was finally assembled. Ramsgate architecture, plants, plastic animals, a pink flamingo and of course, our cast of 21, rocking all manners of surreal poses, jumps, weird juxtapositions, and self-portraits, have been re-imagined - flying, flocking, splashing, sliding.


Skyscrapers loom, a shock of animal and flower-headed characters prance and parade, darting over the rooftops, crowding the streets with colour and spectacle, filling the skies like a winter murmuration of starlings. Familiar but dreamlike! High tides rage, waves crash over the harbour to flood the town.


Sperm whales sleep upright in the sky, a golden Brontosaurus dangles from the neck of a dog-faced boy. Huge plants touch the clouds, pink skies pierced by a monolithic granite obelisk three miles high. Yellow tinted streets, a child colossus bestrides the town, wave-washed seaside landscapes of strangeness conjured from the imagination.”


We’d like to say a huge thank you to the team at Project MotorHouse, especially to Jo Mapp, Tim Topple and Chris Tipping, for doing this incredible work with our students.


Please do stop by the gallery with your families to immerse yourselves in this truly imaginative, creative and fantastical world!





© 2022 by The Royal Harbour Academy