February 21st has been declared by the United Nations to be International Mother Language Day. You may not have heard of it, but it’s a vital piece in the worldwide effort to preserve indigenous, endangered, and minority cultures—by helping give respect to their languages, which are the heart of their identity.
As I say, this is a global issue, but the day is especially closely connected to the nation of Bangladesh, where the population's desire to speak its mother tongue was a main factor in achieving independence from Pakistan. The Endangered Alphabets Project is contributing our part to this global observance by returning to these roots. I am carving the phrase “mother language” in the four principal alphabets of Bangladesh: Bangla (the official national language), and Chakma, Marma and Mro, three of the country's endangered indigenous languages.
It’s a way of giving respect and attention to the entire diversity of the population. In the United States, it would be like displaying the phrase “mother tongue” in English but also in Cherokee, Navajo, Lakota, Cree, and other indigenous languages of North America. The Bangladesh project is a first step toward doing carvings in mother tongues for many other countries.
My hope is that this carving will be my most public work yet, and will become a visual symbol of the diversity of languages and cultures not only in Bangladesh but all over the world.
My Kickstarter goal is $1,000 to cover the cost of buying the materials, doing the carving, and shipping the finished work to Bangladesh, where it will go on display in the main arts center in the highly diverse city of Chittagong. If I can exceed that goal it will help to cover the costs of exhibiting the carving, publicizing the event and creating an International Mother Language Day poster based on the carving.
The Endangered Alphabets Project has grown in large part thanks to its Kickstarter supporters, who have recognized the importance of the union of diverse art and global purpose I’m striving to maintain. I hope you’ll continue to back my work.
Risks and challenges
It's possible my carving would be lost in transit, I suppose. Shipping overseas always carries a certain amount of risk. At that point I'd have to use tracking to get the carrier to find it. I suppose it might also be held up at Customs, but the exhibitor who will be displaying the work has experience dealing with such problems.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (10 days)