About Kate Daudy: This is Water

Kate Daudy creates written interventions, often in public spaces, based on an ancient Chinese literary practice of seeking to understand the universe through art and nature. 

Daudy’s Chinese studies have driven a profound interest in calligraphy and Chinese philosophy, and have led to her working in a variety of mediums, including using felt fabric to create her writings.

The title of this series of works at YSP, 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’.

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how's the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”
- David Foster Wallace

Daudy visited the Middle East with UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) and her encounters with refugees have been life changing for her. The grace, resilience and creativity of these people who have fled their homes, often in the most traumatic circumstances, and the compassion of those who help them, has reaffirmed her belief that, as Marcus Aurelius says: 'our life is what our thoughts make it'.

Kate Daudy This is Water 2016 Photo Jonty Wilde

Writing on walls around Yorkshire Sculpture Park was part of a prolific street-writing campaign that Daudy has embarked on to share positive, thought-provoking messages and ideas, in an effort to encourage everyone to count and share their blessings, to smile and be kind. 

‘By writing her thoughts and feelings on a given object she lays herself and her feelings open, providing the viewer with a sub text as a starting point for their own personal reflection on the piece.’

Download the exhibition map