A festival where your language matters
On Friday 31st January we launched the Mother Tongues Festival programme with a performance by visual artist Tomasz Madajczak.
Seeing Tomasz’ stream of consciousness in English and Polish pictured on the walls of Rua Red reminded me of a child in one of the classes I visited recently. After I said to the pupils that they could write in any language they wanted, this young girl asked: “Am I allowed to write in Polish?” I reassured that she was and she wrote bilingually; her thoughts were flowing in both languages, as in Tomasz’ piece.
We often speak of “home language” vs “school language” or “national language” vs “community language”, and by using this terminology we relegate a language to a specific role. We often forget that for most speakers language is much more than that, it is a living organism that grows, moves, goes back and forth, sometimes disappearing, sometimes reappearing to stir some new emotions.
This is what the Mother Tongues Festival is all about. It is not only a festival where we come together and celebrate, but also a time to reflect on what our languages mean to us as individuals and as a society, which languages we value, which languages we love, which languages speak to our heart.
The speeches by Consul Agnieszka Wybiral, Polish Embassy Dublin, Orla Scannell, South Dublin County Arts Office, Teresa Buczkowska, Immigrant Council of Ireland and Arts Council Ireland board member, Evan Furlong, Taiwan in Ireland and Maud Hendricks, Director of the Outlandish Theatre Platform reminded us of the importance of celebrating linguistic diversity and multilingualism in Dublin and beyond in an Ireland that welcomes people from more than 200 different countries.
Language may at first seem an unusual field of interest and discovery. Many people I come across tell me that they only speak one language and that maybe this festival is not for them. My response is that if you can communicate in any language (including body language!) this festival is for you!
The plans for this festival last a whole year, and the three days of celebration are our way to share our work with our public and get everyone involved. Our festival is made so special by the many artists who share our vision and by the hundreds of children and adults that enjoy our celebration with us.
If you have never come to the festival before, this is your chance to try something different! Book a ticket, browse the programme, come in to say hello, dia dhuit, ciao, привет, سلام, 你好, γειά σου!
Francesca La Morgia
Director, Mother Tongues Festival