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  • Paula the Polar Bear at Turner Contemporary
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Canterbury Cathedral
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Canterbury Cathedral
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Canterbury Cathedral
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station
  • Paula the Polar Bear at Turner Contemporary

This summer, Turner Contemporary has hosted a special guest who has been inspiring visitors to think about climate change: Paula the Polar Bear, a life-sized puppet operated by two puppeteers, loaned from Greenpeace.

On the days that Paula performed at the gallery, there were over 32.8k visits. Visitors took to social media to share their photos, commenting:

Some seriously amazing puppetry at @TCMargate today - hard to believe it wasn’t real.

We went today to see Paula the Polar Bear and it was unreal. Loved it. Thank you @turnercontemporary for putting this on

Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting the very impressive Paula the Polar Bear @turnercontemporary. A simple yet stark reminder of the global warming issues that affect us all.

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Above: Paula the Polar Bear at Turner Contemporary. Photo credit: Manu Palomeque

Paula the Polar Bear also appeared elsewhere in Margate, being seen by thousands of people at Margate Train Station, on Margate promenade by the Nayland Rock Shelter and at Margate Pride. She visited the major funders who donated to the campaign, Shepherd Neame in Faversham, St Lawrence College in Ramsgate, and Canterbury Cathedral. Turner Contemporary would like to thank all of the 292 funders who donated to the crowdfunding campaign through Art Happens that enabled the gallery to bring Paula the Polar Bear to Margate.

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Above: Paula the Polar Bear at Margate Train Station. Photo credit: Manu Palomeque

The gallery would like to say a huge thank you to the skilful puppeteers, James Frost, Oscar Keeys, Stephen Foy-Philip, Beth Hipwell, Yana Penrose and Arthur Palmer, who worked so hard to make Paula come alive assisted by Heather Tait and Robert Anderson. They gave a workshop to some of the supporters of the crowd funding campaign, teaching them how to operate Paula.

Wow, big thank you to Beth & Arthur the puppeteers for a fantastic hour with Paula the polar bear at @TCMargate this evening. It was an experience I will never forget.

Ok so this was absolutely fabulous: a 1hr workshop @TCMargate learning to operate Paula the Polar Bear. I loved it!!

Head of Learning at Turner Contemporary, Karen Eslea, said "We are delighted that Paula has been so popular this summer. Bringing her to Margate in collaboration with Greenpeace has not only triggered vital debate about global warming and our relationships with animals, but it has also made for an extraordinary atmosphere in the galleries. It is fantastic to see so many new visitors venturing to Turner Contemporary and connecting with world class art. "

Turner Contemporary has now received over 2.9 million visits since opening in 2011. Coming up at the gallery next is an exciting autumn season of exhibitions and family workshops. Later in the year, a spectacular artist-designed Christmas tree will be appearing on Turner Contemporary’s terrace to inspire visitors. More information on Christmas at Turner Contemporary will be announced soon on turnercontemporary.org.

2018-19 promises a thrilling schedule of exhibitions featuring contemporary and historical artwork, including new commissions, major retrospectives and Turner Prize 2019. Find out more about Turner Contemporary's upcoming exhibitions here.

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Above: Paula the Polar Bear on the roof of Canterbury Cathedral. Photo credit: All Access Ltd

Posted by: Turner Contemporary on Thu 30 Aug 2018