Com­mis­sioned by Aarhus Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Culture, Mother Tongue, a video work by the Buxton Contemporary Collection artist Angelica Mesiti, takes the songs in the Danish Højskolesangbogen (The National Folk High School Songbook) as its conceptual starting point. The Højskolesangbogen is the foundational anchor of the Danish tradition of fællessang (communal singing), which originated in the socialist movements of the late 1800s as a form of protest and is today a symbol of national identity and togetherness. To adhere to fællessang is to perform the vernacular of a collective ‘mother tongue’.

The work was pro­duced with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of a range of per­form­ers from Aarhus includ­ing school chil­dren, employee’s of Aarhus Kom­mune, the Ramal­lah Boy Scouts troupe, the Jaf­fra Dancers, Gellerup Cir­cus School and res­i­dents of the hous­ing devel­op­ment, Gellerupparken. From pop­u­lar radio hits to tra­di­tion­al folk songs, Soma­li blues, march­ing drills and wed­ding dances, Moth­er Tongue explores a series of com­mu­nal, cre­ative activ­i­ties shared across the urban, civic and res­i­den­tial spaces of one Euro­pean city.

The work is currently showing at Auck­land Art Gallery Toi o Tāma­ki in New Zealand until the 8th of February 2021.

Follow the link to find out more.


Image: Angelica Mesiti Mother Tongue, 2017. Still from two-channel HD video, 18 min.