imagined by François Delarozière

2019 is going to be an important year for the town of Calais and neighbouring communities because, by the end of it, the Dragon created by François Delarozière will have become part of the local landscape.

On a recent visit to Calais, François Delarozière was kind enough to tell us a bit more about the Dragon;  he also talked about his own path through life.

Born in Marseille, he grew up and studied there. While still a student he began work designing and making furniture and fitting out shops.

A providential meeting completely changed the course of his life when, through family contacts, he met members of the theatre company Royal de Luxe, who introduced him to street art and street theatre. His focus shifted from individual ventures to collective ones, and he set to work constructing machines designed to occupy public spaces, so that art could be shared by all.

His connection with Calais began by the construction of giants for a parade through the town for the Channel Tunnel inauguration ceremony in 1994. He later collaborated with Le Channel arts complex in designing Le Passager, its first theatre auditorium, and thus became attached to the town.

Since then his creations have become part of the local collective imagination and several generations of children have grown up with his fantastic creatures, the latest one to come to Calais being Long Ma, the horse-dragon which inspired wonder and enchantment by its size and its poetical charm.

With his company La Machine, he is now contributing to a change in Calais' urban landscape, by opening up public spaces to allow for the collective experience of emotion through movement, symbol of vitality and dynamism.

Movement is the common factor linking the Dragon and the town. Calais is a port and the historical crossing point to England by ferry. The Dragon will carry visitors and fill them with the sensation of movement. A complex functioning mechanism brings this magnificent creature to life, with human effort placed at the heart of the machinery.

The Dragon is due to arrive in the Autumn of 2019 and will occupy an urban area on the seafront. By 2023, other fantastic creatures will be coming to take possession of Calais and create a special and unique universe throughout the town.

Make a date with us soon for a ride on the Dragon's back, to visit or re-visit the town of Calais.


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