Project Overview

Denise Keele-bedford’s fellowship aims to extend her Boat Project, which has engaged the subject of migration and travel through installations of multiple origami boats in New York State, China, Korea and Melbourne. Her fellowship will explore how to translate these forms into a sculpture that can be installed at a number of outdoor sites across Manningham. The fellowship will provide a stepping-stone for Keele-bedford to work in new formats, with different materials and at a larger scale than she has previously.

Project Update, December 2020

Well versed in creating large, collaborative installations of multiple and often ephemeral objects, through her Arts Manningham Fellowship, Denise Keele-bedford has redirected her talents to creating a more permanent, stand-alone sculpture. Denise’s intention is to upscale an origami boat form with which she has previously worked to create a 4 metre long sculpture that can be installed temporarily in various public locations. The Fellowship has given her an opportunity to continue her research into boats, vessels and other ‘lacuna forms’, and she has explored the work of a range of artists who employ these forms. Denise’s concept aims to add a sense of play and fun to the locations where it is installed, but also focus people’s minds to addressing contemporary issues of migration and travel.

Over recent weeks, Denise’s research has paid particular focus to the variety of materials other artists have worked in, and their suitability to her sculpture. She has liaised with designers, carpenters and metal fabricators with whom she has not previously worked, obtaining advice on the relative strength and durability of different products and treatment, as well as on considerations like transportability and public safety, thereby developing a more complete understanding of all that goes into creating a piece of public art. What’s more, working towards a more accessible, ever-present mode of exhibition, Denise reveals her thinking about her work has shifted to incorporate an understanding that public art, ‘is just that, public. I may be the instigator of the project, but the outcome is a sculpture that belongs to the public.’

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