12 June 2008
Daniel Baker - biography
Daniel was born in St Mary Cray in Kent in 1961, the youngest son of a family of Romanichal Gypsies, which has existed in the area for many generations and represents the largest concentration of Gypsies in England. His family settled before he was born, making for a relatively stable education. Daniel studied painting at Ravensbourne School of Art from age 17 to 21. His art practice has become increasingly contextualised by an ongoing exploration of his cultural positioning. Having completed a Sociology MA specialising in Romani Studies, Daniel began his Doctoral Research at the Royal College of Art in 2006.
He is currently serving as Chair of the Gypsy Council and editor of The HUB, the newsletter of the Gypsy Council. He exhibits widely both in the UK and abroad. He lives and works in London.
"Baker’s artworks address a tradition of ornamentation in Gypsy culture. He paints on glass, producing mirrored surfaces (“looking glasses”). These are inhabited by graffiti, flowers, animals and iconic motifs such as the caravan. In his ‘sign’ works Baker examines the power and ambiguity of words by formulating statements that present a mixed message (“This is shit,”). These ‘signs’ are intended to question assumption and preconception in the viewer in relation to the object the subject and the environment. As well as highlighting issues of illiteracy in Roma culture these ‘signs’ link individual consciousness with collective awareness."