With the life-size tent installation 'No One Is Illegal', artist duo Nicole Driessens and Ivo van den Baar move the world of people on the run in the woods of Dunkirk to the art world. This installation is inspired by the terrible situation of refugees on their way to England. A group of Belgian and French volunteers, including Saar Depuydt, help these people with food, clothing, tents and sleeping bags to provide for their basic needs.When Covid-19 broke out, Nicole and Ivo immediately experienced the consequences for their profession as artists. On the other hand, they also realised that they could fall back on all kinds of emergency measures taken by the Dutch government. This is in contrast to the refugees stranded in Dunkirk.
Nicole and Ivo contacted Saar Depuydt to ask if she could send them photos of the situation in Dunkirk. From these, the two artists together chose three images and transformed them into small textile artworks. They offer them for sale via Instagram and other channels such as now in S.M.A.K. The proceeds go to Saar Depuydt so that she can support and help the refugees in Dunkirk.
In the past weeks people from Ghent worked together in S.M.A.K. on a new collection of works for Dunkirk. From 19 June onwards, these works will be exhibited in Room 1.
Are you interested in purchasing a work and thus supporting Saar's voluntary work? Then report to a volunteer at the entrance desk of S.M.A.K. The works of art cost 350 euros each. They are unique and signed.
Saar Depuydt (°1981, Ostend) studied history at Ghent University. Afterwards, she worked as a history and geography teacher in secondary education. Since September 2021, she has been in charge of the OKAN class, the Welcoming Class for Other Language Newcomers.
From 2015, Saar got involved in helping refugees, initially in Calais, later in the forests around Dunkirk.
Currently, she drives from Ghent to Dunkirk once or twice a week. There, she distributes powerbanks that people on the run can request from her. Every Friday evening, together with Dorothy Saudemont, she distributes food parcels (coffee cakes or bread, a tin of fish, a banana, a sugar wafer). Sometimes they distribute up to 250. The food is purchased with the financial gifts that people give them.
A beautiful interview with Saar Depuydt, “Ik heb u gezien” (I saw you), can be found on the website Zwijgen is Geen Optie (in Dutch).
Nicole Driessens, born in Dutch Limburg, studied at the Academie voor Beeldende Vorming in Tilburg.
Ivo van den Baar, also from Dutch Limburg, studied at the Academy of Art and Design in 's Hertogenbosch.
Both moved to Rotterdam, the city to which many young artists from all over the Netherlands moved, because of the possibilities of finding studios and housing.
In 1999 Nicole and Ivo started their professional collaboration under the name Driessens & van den Baar WANDSCHAPPEN. Art projects in public spaces in relation to traditional techniques, assignments for municipalities, museums and companies followed. The development of a series of black felt plants, as an icon for the migratory movements of people in Rotterdam South (where Nicole and Ivo's studio is) led to the introduction into the international design world, parallel to their art practice.
- Opening on Sunday 19 June 2022, 14:00-16:00.
- In Room 1, S.M.A.K.
- Free admission.
- Each work of art costs 350 euro.
- The installation can be seen until 3 July 2022.