Kay Abude

Kay Abude, Work Worth Doing, 2019, Work in progress (printed linen on sewing table in studio)
Kay Abude, Work Worth Doing, 2019, Work in progress (screen and film in printing studio)

Where I work

I am 10 months into my 2-year studio residency at Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne, Australia. I’m in a complex that is home to a contemporary art gallery and 16 artist studios. My physical studio at Gertrude is the centre of my creative practice and it is my favourite place on this planet. There is also a ping pong table at Gertrude and I am the reigning Gertrude Ping Pong Champion (!!) #GertrudeResidentPingPongQueen

What inspired my work

The words ‘Work Worth Doing’ are adapted from a speech made by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing”.
The artwork invites those adorning the garments and audiences viewing the artwork to reflect on the nature of their labour. How do we find meaning in our everyday work lives? What is the value of doing a good job, to work hard and to give it our best? What makes our work worth doing?

How I made it

I silkscreen printed the aprons in a local print studio in Collingwood and sewed them together in my studio. All my textile artworks are made by me by hand because I enjoy labour-intensive processes; there’s a real pleasure in it and find owning my own labour very satisfying.

What I am working on

I’m working on creating new artworks for the exhibition ‘Asset Class’ curated by Mark Feary that will be presented at the 2020 Melbourne Art Fair. I’m also working on my solo exhibition at Glasshouse (Gertrude Contemporary’s project space) that will open later in October 2020.

About me

My family moved to Melbourne, Australia from Manila, the Philippines, in the late 80s where my parents moved from white-collar jobs into blue-collar work. In the early 90s, my Mum worked in an electrical factory and brought materials home from the factory to supplement her weekly income. After school, my sister and I made test-switches and exit signs in the lounge room of our house. I have vivid memories of spending most of my childhood making electrical components and our home being a fertile and energetic site of production. This sparked my interest in the factory and systems of production at a very young age.

Instagram: @kay.abude

Website: www.kayabude.com

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