Be Creative Remain Resilient is artist Kay Abude's first presentation in the UK and the fourth annual Showroom Mural Commission. The commission is a unique project for artists to activate the building's emblematic facade, and is indicative of The Showroom's long-standing commitment to engaging community groups and individuals in our neighbourhood and beyond to work in collaboration with contemporary artists.
Be Creative Remain Resilient is a collaborative project devised by Kay Abude. In her practice Abude opens up a broad inquiry into the nature of work and labour, exploring the politics of making, the economics associated with artistic practice, and the difficulties and precarities associated with creative careers, specifically among migrant communities. Abude's notions of labour are based on her own lived experience. The artist was born in the Philippines and relocated to Australia with her family. Her mother moved from white to blue-collar employment to work in an electrical factory, at home the family would sit together assembling test switches and exit signs to supplement the family income.
Be Creative Remain Resilient has encompassed a process of research, development and production by Kay in collaboration with a group of eight women with connections to The Showroom neighbourhood and further afield in London, leading to the making of this new iteration of The Showroom Mural Commission, which envelops the building's facade from summer 2023 to summer 2024.
Be Creative Remain Resilient carries forward many of the concerns, commitments and questions raised within Abude’s earlier works in Australia, where she is based, which the artist has developed with many collaborators including her own family. Abude's projects are exceptionally sociable. They are activated by the workers who engage with her, and often wear her textile artworks. Her lasting professional relationships developed through cooperative approaches to skill-sharing reflect a practice devoted to examining the economies of precarity both within and beyond the context of artistic production; and underscore the access that is intersectionally denied to communities by the prospect of low pay. With her collaborators, Abude produces impeccably manufactured performance garments that condense her skills in photography, silk screen printing and sculpture, supported by a conceptual and social impulse.
Image above: Kay Abude, Be Creative Remain Resilient, The Showroom Mural Commission 2023-24. Installation view, The Showroom, London. Photo: Cesare di Giglio
The Showroom Mural Commission: Kay Abude - Be Creative Remain Resilient is funded by Westminster City Council within their Culture and Community Grants Programme, as part of Inside Out 2023. The project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
The Showroom is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Our 40th Anniversary Programme, which features The Showroom Mural Commission in 2023-24, is supported by Cockayne Grants for the Arts, a donor advised fund held at The London Community Foundation.
Kay Abude is an artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her practice spans diverse media, including sculpture, large-scale installation, photography, performance, video, and silk screen printing. Her works, often adorned with texts, function as provocations and explore themes of work, labour and money. Her recent commissions include (DON’T) BE AN ARTIST, Flash Forward – Creative Laneways Project, The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne, 2021; NEVER WORK/ STOP WORKING, NGV Triennial EXTRA, NGV International, Melbourne, 2021; THE BEAUTY OF ROCK BOTTOM, Stimulus Package, FUSE Festival, City of Darebin, 2021; and WORK WORTH DOING, La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo, Victoria, 2020-21. Abude was a studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne from 2019 to 2022.