Angelica Mesiti, ‘Mother Tongue’, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, until the 8th of February 2021
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.
Image: Angelica Mesiti Mother Tongue, 2017. Still from two-channel HD video, 18 min.
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