St Paul's Cathedral to host tent once lived in by refugees from Syria
Tent that once housed a family of Syrian refugees turned into a work of art by British visual artist Kate Daudy
The Reverend Canon Tricia Hillas and Simon Carter, St Paul's Head of Collections, worked with UNHCR to bring the installation to the Cathedral.
© Graham Lacdao / St Paul's Cathedral
A tent that once housed a family of Syrian refugees in Jordan will this week be pitched inside St Paul’s Cathedral as part of a month of events to highlight the work of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
British visual artist Kate Daudy turned the tent into an artwork, with the words of refugees and aid workers depicted in felt, alongside the definition of a refugee from the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. The name of the artwork: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?’ is inscribed at the tent’s entrance.
Daudy chose to interpret the refugee crisis through art after seeing images of people crossing the Mediterranean trying to seek safety in Europe in 2015.
“I decided that I should do an immersive artwork about home, identity and generosity, and that I should make it out of a tent. I wanted to convey a message of hope and shared humanity … Through my tent, I wanted to look at racism and also at the line between tolerance and acceptance in a community context,” she said.
The Reverend Canon Tricia Hillas, Pastor of St Paul’s, oversaw the installation.
“Ideas of ‘home’ and ‘shelter’ are at the heart of my own understanding of the Christian faith … I find the vulnerability and transitory nature of the tent at the centre of this installation, sheltered as it is for a time within this vast, solid cathedral, deeply moving,” Hillas said. The cathedral has supported the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants since 2015.
"I was entranced by the refugees taking the trouble to plant beautiful flowers and bushes around their new homes. It struck me as an act full of grace, to go through so much trauma and loss, and straightaway go about planting flowers"
A family of Syrian refugees lived in the tent in Za’atari Camp, Jordan.
Daudy, who is based in London, also commissioned hundreds of intricately crocheted hollyhocks and tree leaves made by women living in camps in Syria for internally displaced people.
“The tree puts the refugees’ craft directly at the heart of my message, and also had the advantage of providing the ladies and their families with a living for the duration of the project … At Za’atari camp, I was entranced by the refugees taking the trouble to plant beautiful flowers and bushes around their new homes. It struck me as an act full of grace, to go through so much trauma and loss, and straightaway go about planting flowers.”
The artwork will be on display in the north transept of the Cathedral June 3rd to 28th and entrance to view it is free from Monday to Saturday between 4.15 and 4.45 pm. A programme of events during Refugee Week will offer opportunities to engage with the installation and the questions it provokes.
More information about the programme can be found at www.stpauls.co.uk/refugee-tent.