Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Languages and Canberra's Centenary Celebrations

Many people have voiced enthusiastic support for the idea of constructing a statue, mural, or mosaic in central Canberra to celebrate the multilingual nature of Canberra during our 100 years celebrations in 2013.  This would be a powerful symbol of the important role of languages in our past (including Aboriginal languages of course), today, and for the future of Canberra as a cosmopolitan international city and national capital. This idea was inspired by a fantastic languages statue in Vancouver Canada. 

Ideas for the project have included
  • a mosaic with the words ‘Long live Canberra - it is my home’ written in all the languages that are spoken and represented by residents in Canberra
  • a competition for the design, including which phrase would be translated into the various languages  
  • a tiled area people could walk over and see their language represented: schools could contribute tiles they have made and have a firing for the artwork
  • a simple message recorded by speakers of the many languages living in Canberra, these recordings then played at random when triggered by a passer-by.
  • an interactive sound installation like those in Sydney by Paul Carter
  • linking the monument with activities around International Mother Language Day (21 February) or International Peace Day or Harmony Day (both in September)
  •  incorporating the ability to change the recorded message each year - thus involving people again and again and also keeping the message and the languages used to transmit it interesting and relevant. 
Your thoughts on this project welcome!!

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