As editor of ASLI Magazine I felt I should honour a particular woman who inspires me daily and who is the reason I am doing what I am doing today, this inspiring woman is Sadie Kaye who is co-founder of ASLI with myself (Charlotte Farhan) and is our International Creative Director at ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL. Furthermore and most importantly Sadie is my mentor and close friend. So as we draw closer to the end of April and the end of our 3 month long campaign in celebrating women I wanted to share with you all why Sadie Kaye is such an inspiring woman.
Sadie has an extensive career which is continuously evolving from year to year, with her talents lending themselves to many artistic expressions and forums. With an energetic personality, who never does anything by half and who has been championing other artists within the arts most of her career.
Sadie accepted an invitation to be an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust charity in 2009. She has supported and collaborated with UK social reform think tank, the Centre For Social Justice. She is also patron of the UK Reformed Foundation.
Sadie also worked as a volunteer mentor to young offenders inside London’s Feltham Young Offenders Institute for 4 years before inspiring and managing her own projects. In 2010 she mentored 3 persistent young offenders while sailing a 60 ft yacht to Venezuela. After meeting inmates inside anarchic El Rodeo Jail and being inspired by the work of the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Proyecto Alcatraz, the group coerced violent teenage street gangs to disarm peacefully in Caracas slums. She is planning to return to Venezuela with a brand new crew on a bold new Voyage of Adventure in 2016.
Sadie also is a great supporter of mental health charities and causes and campaigns to end the stigma towards mental health at every opportunity she gets. This is why when we decided to launch ASLI we had in mind to make this part of the important rhetoric that our non-profit organisation takes as it is something very close to both our hearts and we also found each other through Sadie reading my blog article ART SAVED MY LIFE – MY ONGOING STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS back in 2013. We are about to start a 3 month long campaign using art and artists from all over the world expressing Mental Illness, Mental Health and Recovery so we are achieving some very important goals we set for ourselves to create change globally.
As we have asked all our artists their opinions on particular issues surrounding women today we felt it important to ask Sadie too:
What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?
“Feminists believe in women’s rights to a fair world of equal rights, equal pay and opportunity, so yes, I suppose I am a feminist without having given it much thought.”
Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?
No, no and no. Self-expression is a basic human right. Nobody should have to adhere to social norms. The expression is a lie. ‘Normal’ doesn’t exist. If you know a ‘normal’ person, please introduce him or her to me. I’d be fascinated to meet my first ‘normal’ person and may wish to write a book about them ‘The Last Normal Person’. The only value of stereotypes is in creating a wealth of material for comics.
What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?
Without question, art has enhanced my life immeasurably, impassioned my soul, enriched and invigorated my mind, helped me understand thoughts and feelings that are not objectively understandable. But has it saved me? Honestly? No, I don’t think so. Not literally. Not personally. I think it’s my family, my closest friends and me, myself and I (mainly) who have ‘saved’ me when I’ve been teetering on the edge. I have bipolar disorder and before I was diagnosed and got treatment, I was more on the edge than off of it. OK, I was nowhere near the edge. I was free-falling 8000 miles south of it. I know that there are artists on the board of ASLI who passionately believe that art “saved” their lives in a way I’m unlikely to fully understand. That’s because my life has been pretty easy compared to theirs. I’m aware of it and I don’t want to patronize others by attempting to conceal it. Art Saves Lives, to me, is a metaphorical name, not literal one. Having said that, my ‘art’ — writing and film making and all the other bat crazy stuff I’ve done — has helped me to chase off the black dog at times. Usually, I stroke it and let it lick my face.
To me ASLI is a call to action for artists to value themselves as instruments of social change. It’s not just about self-expression, or a global audience’s rapturous appreciation of your artwork, nice though that would be. It’s a platform to enlighten, challenge, inspire and raise awareness of the social, humanitarian and educational issues that affect you and your community wherever in the world you happen to live. Without awareness there can be no motivation and without motivation there can be no change. You don’t have to be a professional artist to help ASLI incite and instigate change. It’s your support that matters.
How can your art (writing/film work) be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?
I think that most of my writing twists social stereotypes, or the idea of them, about as far as they can go for humorous purposes. My documentaries are produced with the vision of inciting change by taking bold social action, exploding myths and stereotypes, defying sanity in some instances. They have all been passionate, risqué affairs. Mainly because I self-funded most of them and they all involved foreign adventure for young offenders unable to break the cycle of poverty and crime. When we returned to UK, the potential for homelessness — my own — was catastrophic. Praise be to Sky and Discovery for broadcasting the films and saving me that fate. This summer, I am bringing an artist from the UK to Hong Kong and Mainland China for a unique cultural and artistic experience as a pilot for a more permanent artists exchange in 2016, in partnership with ASLI.
Sadie is now concurring the children’s literature world with her wonderfully witty and magical book The Wishing Machine which is now inspiring young minds and gifting them with a wonderfully written story full of adventure and mystery. Having been involved with Sadie as the illustrator of The Wishing Machine I know first hand how hard Sadie worked to create this whimsical tale and how much of her heart and soul is poured into the pages.
So as you can see this is one inspiring lady and I would keep your eye on Sadie’s expanding career and profile as you will want to be involved in her mission and art. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Sadie publicly for all her help, encouragement, creativity, opportunities and for being my inspiration to make art a tool in the fight to create change in the world. I hope to continue working creatively with Sadie for the rest of my career and I know we will endeavour to be the change we wish to see.
If you would like to know more about Sadie Kaye please follow these links: