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An Interview with Kennedy Drake

Updated: May 22




My name is Kennedy Drake and I am a second-year BA Visual Arts student at Bradford College. As a working-class woman from Bradford, my work is as intersectional and culturally sensitive as possible, always shining a light on broader inequalities within our society. I saw my project 'Paradox' as an opportunity to challenge the ideological hegemony of capitalism in Western society, which is heavily driven by marketing and consumerism.


Q. Your work forms a very current social commentary which, without feeling too diaristic, is a reflection of your own experiences, can you tell us a bit more about the influence behind your work?

This is a poignant issue for me, as I grew up in a low-income household and use art to express my discomfort at inequalities present in our society. These inequalities are symbolised throughout all my work - using various methods and techniques - in order to present a hard-hitting critique of capitalism and class inequality in the UK and beyond; with some people living comfortably, whilst rates of homelessness, destitution and child poverty continue to rise.

Q. Your choice in artistic methods feels quite fluid, how do your concepts influence your choice in material?

My choice in material is intentionally chosen to either challenge or to completely contradict my concept. This is because I comment on the world around me and there is a lot to say and challenge especially at the moment.

For my ‘Paradox’ project, it was important for me to tell the truth as much as I could. This meant to upcycle objects that other people had donated. This alone was supposed to represent the fact that people once thought this material object would change their life in someway but once the object had served its purpose, it is replaced. This was also a realisation of not being able to fill the void and it turns into a vicious cycle. You save up money to buy those shoes and once you have them, you think they will change everything… but they don’t. Then you move on to the next thing that you believe will make you happy. The pills were another way to address this as a lot of people turn to self-medicating in order to feel anything. ADDICTION.

Q. Can you tell us a bit more about your practice as a whole?

I am an interdisciplinary artist, using sculpture, painting, audio visual methods, printmaking, zines and books to explore a wide range of issues. The topic I am currently working on is Hostile Architecture and specifically how architects are designing people out of space. Before the 2020 lockdown, I built up an impressive collection of photographs of hostile street furniture in Bradford, Leeds and Manchester. Then I created a zine with the photographs. At the beginning of March, I visited Vienna and took photographs there and the plan was to take more and produce a book but due to the current situation, this has not yet been possible; it is still an aim of mine, however.





To see more of Kennedy Drake's work click the link below

@kennedydrakeart

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Student House is a project by Saltaire Inspired supported by Bradford Metropolitan District Council through Community Arts and Culture Grants: Response. 

The role of  Saltaire Inspired's 2020 Artist Support Intern is supported by Arts Council England.

Student House was created in partnership with Bradford School of Art.

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