Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

The Collections
Today at the Cathedral View More
A Refugee Tent Installation
7:30am Morning Prayer
8:00am Eucharist
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

A Refugee Tent Installation

To mark Refugee Week, St Paul’s Cathedral will host Am I My Brother's Keeper?, an installation created from a UNHCR tent used in refugee camp in Jordan by London-based artist Kate Daudy. 

From 3rd to 27th June, the tent will be installed in the north transept of the Cathedral and will be available to view at no cost between 4.15-4.45pm, Monday to Saturday. 

Throughout the period of the tent’s installation, there will be a number of free events offering different opportunities to engage with the installation and the questions it provokes. On 17th June, during Refugee Week, the UNHCR will host a free private viewing of the tent along with a programme of music, theatre and poetry. More information and a limited number of free tickets are available on Eventbrite

There will be talks, reading and poetry recitals exploring the themes of the tent installation from 10am-12.20pm on 17th June, 10.30am-12.20pm on 18th June, and 11am-12.20pm on 20th June. Standard admissions charges apply. 

Lighting Matches in the Wind: What is the impact and influence of art in today’s society?
Friday 14th June
A panel discussion on the role and effect of art in society exploring the question: Can the visual arts be a force for social justice? 
Admission is free but places are limited and must be booked in advance here.
Why Bother About Refugee Week?  
Monday 17th June
A panel discussion exploring the various issues facing refugees when seeking asylum and settling in Britain, and how campaigning can be effective in helping to tackle them.    
Admission is free but places are limited and must be booked in advance here

In early 2016, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, gave Kate a tent from Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, which had been home to a refugee family from Syria. The father of the family wrote his name ‘Abu Teim’ in biro over the front door. Despite prolonged searching, no trace of them has been found since they left.

The brightly coloured crochet elements of the tent were made by internally displaced women in Syria, providing revenue for them and for their families. The crochet circles were brought out of Syria using a complex network of contacts right across the Middle East. The words on the tent are those of refugees, diplomats, aid workers, medical staff and soldiers involved in the refugee crisis from nearly 60 different countries.

The dignity, courage and resilience of those she met whilst conceiving this work struck Daudy deeply: “The human qualities we all share, whatever our circumstances, seemed to situate temporal considerations like nationality, political and religious difference as obstacles we can try to overcome.”

The Reverend Canon Tricia Hillas, Canon Pastor of St Paul’s, finds profound theological resonance in the work: “Ideas of ‘home’ and ‘shelter’ are at the heart of my own understanding of the Christian faith, speaking to me of our human longing for the home and shelter we find within the heart of God. 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; and the gathered decorations a reminder of the community of shelter which we are called to be for one another. The piece takes its title from the question defensively posed to God by the Biblical character Cain. A question which still reverberates between and within us today.” 

Kate Daudy is a multidisciplinary artist, whose work looks at home and identity. She gave this piece to the UNHCR in admiration for their work protecting and assisting refugees everywhere. There are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world (refugees, asylum-seekers and those who have been internally displaced) and we are witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record: an average of one person displaced every two seconds. 

Of Daudy’s work, Art Critic Marina Warner has said, “Daudy is interested in illuminating power structures and using the visual arts as a means of bringing about discourse that might contribute toward social and political change. Although disruptive, her work is full of optimism. While our current world circumstances can seem so dire, the future remains in our hands.”

St Paul’s Cathedral has been engaged in questions of the movement of people through the work of St Paul’s Institute, including research by Dr Adrian Pabst entitled ‘A Common Good Approach to Free Movement of People’, and through the Cathedral’s support of the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants since 2015.