Endangered languages meet textile art in new exhibition at Elora Centre for the Arts

ELORA – A new exhibition at the Elora Centre for the Arts uses textile art to explore and share words from endangered and minority languages from around the world. 

These beautiful, poetic words – many of which have no direct translation into English – reveal complex and elemental connections to land and nature. 

The exhibit Living-Language-Land: Word Portraits from the Earth by textile artist Lorraine Roy, opens July 13.

The collection of work  presents the artist’s visual interpretations (or ‘word portraits’) to illuminate unique words as well as spark curiosity about their meanings and the cultures from which they spring. 

“I found an intimate connection between culture and spirituality,” explains Roy. 

“I discovered that elements of nature are so vividly integrated into these words, which is evident in my textured compositions.” 

The original Living-Language-Land project was spearheaded and organized by artist Neville Gabie and neuroscientist Philippa Bayley of the UK. 

Their goal was to offer a platform to minority and endangered language-holders to share a word and story that reflects a relationship to land and nature. 

The project endeavored to enlarge the lexicon we can all draw from in reflecting on those relationships.

Contributions were invited from around the world – acknowledging that only a tiny fraction of minority and endangered languages could be represented in this project. 

Roy’s exhibition is part of that contribution to the global project.

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on July 16 from 2 to 4pm in the gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts. 

Everyone is welcome to meet and mingle with the artist as the exhibition launches.

The exhibition will run until Sept. 10. Gallery admission is free.

This exhibition is part of a summer exhibition series presented by the Elora Mill. 

For more information about the exhibition and the artist, visit eloracentreforthearts.ca.