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Kate Daudy

Conceptual Artist, Sculptor

Kate Daudy is a British artist recognised for her work that explores the limits of language and sculpture/text crossover.

Known for her written interventions in public/private spaces expressing her search for meaning, she has redefined an ancient Chinese tradition as a contemporary art form for the modern era.

Driven by an insatiable curiosity about language and its creative potentials, her experiments have led her into collaborative dialogue with an array of artistic forms and disciplines. The multi-dimensional works resulting from these interactions can be seen across Europe, America and the Middle East. 


Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

In early 2016, thanks to the intervention of the Spanish arts organisation ONUART, Daudy was given a used tent from Zaatari camp, in Jordan, with which to create an artwork.

UNHCR organised for Daudy to visit several camps on different occasions, and she also met with activists, war-wounded, volunteers, doctors, diplomats and other aid organisations, from nearly 60 nations, asking them about their experience of the refugee crisis, and their observations about home and identity rising from it. She also asked them what, if any, lesson could be learned from their trauma and loss, that might be usefully shared through the medium of the tent.

The courage, perseverance and dignity of the people she met struck Daudy deeply, and these positive core human qualities along with the terrible experiences of the refugees have become the overriding theme of the tent. 

The crochet elements of the tent are made by ladies in Syria and transported to London in most circuitous circumstances. Daudy commissioned the circles which create the enormous tree of hope, as well as the crochet which composes the bushes of hollyhocks, so that the tent is inscribed with work and words literally of the refugees themselves.

Having recently completed the artwork- with huge thanks to Selfridges for providing a space and support in which to do so- Am I My Brother's Keeper? will be on display at the Migration Museum at The Workshop as part of Refugee Week.

Written Interventions

Since returning from the refugee camps in June 2016, Daudy has also become engaged in a ongoing campaign of written interventions in public places. Daudy has written, always with permission, in about 250 places in England, Europe, USA and the Middle East, countering current anti-immigrant ideas with a stronger message of bravery and hope. 

It was on one of these trips that Daudy was introduced to an artist called Mohammad, who had painted a Syrian landscape on to the side of one of the mobile homes in the camp. Inspired by his work she decided to bring the voices of those in the camp to the world.

Since then she has had unique access and has talked to many hundreds of refugees from about 60 countries, and people assisting refugees, asking them about home and identity, with a view to learning something about human nature from this situation of trauma and loss. The bravery, hope and resilience of people encouraged her to write the refugees messages on the streets around her. These focus on the positive, appreciating the good, what we have and that our life is what our thoughts make it.

In March 2017 Daudy travelled to New York and with the help of the UNCHR continued spreading the messages of those she had met in 2016. 

New York 2017

This is Water - Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Her most recent project has been the creation of a 500 hectare psychological landscape at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which will run until the end of June 2017.

The title of this series, This is Water , makes reference to an essay by American author David Foster Wallace, which alludes to how easy it is to forget what is ‘hidden in plain sight all around us’.

She has created installations, sculpture and performance pieces; as well as written interventions on tree stumps, gates, stonewalls staircases and bus stops.

The Diary

The Diary is currently touring the USA- featuring in Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum’s Off the Page- an exhibition that looks at the influences literature continues to have on contemporary art and the interconnected nature of visual, oral and written storytelling.

The tailored wedding dress invites reflection on the loss of war, taking as inspiration the photos of young soldiers that appeared in the paper when they died. The pictures were usually taken on each soldier's wedding day, with a beaming bride next to them. Our expectations are upended. An embellished garment becomes a powerful, commemorative symbol.

Words are cut out from red felt and stitched onto a wedding dress. The poem cascades down the back from the waist, bright against the white fabric. The final few lines, a bunch of bleeding roses, spill out to the edge of the hem.

In the autumn the dress will feature alongside works by Nick Cave, Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol, amongst others, in an upcoming exhibition, Dress Matters: Clothing as Metaphor at Tucson Museum of Art.

Am I My Brother's Keeper - UNHCR tent