Project: Language and identity

Ángeles Custodios

24 sixth-grade students from Ángeles Custodios School, Bilbao

Teacher: Esther Vilarino

Artist: Jorge Rubio

Language: Basque

A number of art-related activities were suggested for students to explore the relationship between language and identity, to perceive linguistic diversity as an advantage, and to develop capacities for critical thinking.

Guided by the idea of Euskaraldia, a social initiative that encouraged listening and speaking in the Basque language using symbols such as mouths and ears, the students reinterpreted and recreated mouths, noses and ears with mud. The pieces they made became interventions in the landscape, merged into walls or trees near the school that aroused the curiosity of passers-by.

The students were asked to evaluate the ability of the face to express emotions like sadness, rage, pain, joy or fear. Inspired by ancient peoples and tribes that used to paint their bodies with pigments and other natural elements, they painted their faces and took pictures of their expressive facial gestures.

Finally, the students made symbolic shields as a defense against the extinction of minority languages as a result of the dominance of the most widely spoken ones. When asked to represent beings from the imageries of different cultures, the students made a big doll with pieces of cloth and cardboard, a decontextualized figure, withdrawn from its magic universe and brought to an everyday context.

#AnotherWayOfLooking #MinorityLanguages #Identity #Fantasy

“I hope that this year the students from Ángeles Custodios School in Bilbao found a time and a space where they felt free, had thoughts they had never had before, or created new images that they can recall and associate with those feelings in the future.”—Jorge Rubio, artist