Lady Kitt 2019-on
Combining physical crafting skills & digital technology
Made from recycled plastic shopping bags, recycled paper and reclaimed wood
Using a traditional crafting techniques including paper cutting and flower making (taught to Kitt by Romani artist and missionary Melanie Price).
The works are secular shrines, each one offering space for contemplation, learning and shared enthusiasms connected to a specific theme for example "sustenance", "access" and "reaching out".
The shrines are created as part of the "enSHRINE" project, which explores creative tools for policy change. Offering organizational development through social art residencies culminating in the co-creation of these bespoke, usually interactive, shrines.
As a body of work the shrines more widely represent “togetherness”; honouring human desire to make connections. Celebrating the commonality in apparent difference. Our collective ability to elicit, exchange, respond, and support, despite finding ourselves physically apart or ideologically opposed.
"The works are inspired by Catholic shrines I visited as a child in Portugal. These were sometimes set into, or built out of, caves and rock faces. Other times, created around a natural spring or an old tree.
I was always fascinated by the combination of natural settings with incredibly artificial, ornate and gaudy offerings / statues. I loved the way they looked, the atmosphere they invoked and that they had a life all of their own. Growing and decaying simultaneously, both through natural processes and through a series of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of small, individual, human interventions. I was always very moved by the traces people left of their own stories and experiences- soggy, disintegrating, hand written letters or prayers. These seemed to document the strong social and spiritual significance of these places; the beliefs and communities they celebrate, illustrate and support.
A gallery setting (physical or digital) presents challenges in my work, mostly because a lot of what happens in these projects is to do with human connections , or “creative intimacies” as I call them. So my gallery based work is driven by the question: “How can I turn a gallery into an environment which tenderly exposes and fiercely cares for the social stuff that happens in/ through/ because of participatory projects?”
When I started thinking about how to present both; the objects (which are produced during) and the social connections and changes (that happen as a result of) socially engaged projects, I immediately started to think again of those shines. Implicit in them was an invitation to get involved, to leave a votive offering, a pray, to light a candle, to add my hopes and experiences to these collective monuments. And that’s what I hope to create through these works. An environment that encourages exploration, contemplation and participation. A space which (gently) invites you to get involved."
Images show work developed as part of commissions from: ArtHouses LOCALWIFI 2021, Disconsortia, Art Hostel (Leeds) The Civic (Barnsley), Headway Arts (Northumberland)