The Mother Tongues Festival 2021 celebrates World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development this weekend.
The 2021 festival is presented mostly online, but engages with more than 40 artists and presents a diverse programme available in over 20 languages. The festival ‘celebrates linguistic diversity through the arts in Ireland’.
Japanese Puppet Show
The festival brings a Japanese puppet show for children up to the age of 10 along with their parents or guardians. Tamao Oka will telling old Japanese folk tales passed from generation to generation. Tamao Oka who was born in Japan, but resides in Dublin is an educator who runs a Japanese book club for children and performs puppet shows in local libraries. The show is set to go on the 22nd of May.
Exploring Russian Culture
An event titled ‘Exploring Russian Culture‘ would also be hosted on the 22nd of May as part of the family creative art workshop. The workshop is open to all guests above the age of 7. The event provides an opportunity to explore the Russian culture and traditions as a family. Diane Merfeldiene, a professional artist, will teach participating families how to create a Khokhloma painting piece using a Russian folk finger painting art style.
Experiment with the Spanish Language
An event titled ‘No es magia, es ciencia!’ (It’s not magic, it’s science!) is hosted for children aged 6 to ten on the 22nd of May. The Spanish creative workshop will allow boys and girls to take on the role of scientists to conduct experiments using the Spanish Language. The event will be hosted by Maia who is from Argentina and is now living in Ireland. She is a Kindergarten teacher who holds a degree in Psychopedagogy from the University for the Creative Arts. She now works as a teacher in crèches while discovering different cultures.
Adults aged 16 and above are free to attend the Afro-Brazilian dance and culture connections workshop. The workshop is held on the 23rd of May. Alessandra Azevedo, a dance facilitator based in Ireland and the first woman to teach Capoeira (Afro-Brazilian Martial Arts) in Dublin, will lead the one-hour long online workshop.
The festival also brings a live performance of the Unspoken Tongue, supported by Rua Red, a contemporary art space, from the 20th to the 22nd of May. Artists Hina Khan and Tomasz Madajczak will engage in a durational written word performance in their native tongues, creating a WordArt expression. The work will consist of a stream of consciousness, elements of poetry in the artists’ native languages (Polish and Urdu), and the process will be open to public engagement in Belgard Square, Tallaght, Dublin. The event starts with the artists writing every day around 10.30am until late in the afternoon. Audiences are encouraged to watch or participate in a linguistic exchange.
Changing The Narrative
Aside from events in the weekend, a panel event, Changing the narrative: the power of language and media to promote societal change, is organised for the 24th of May, Monday. The event will be chaired by Joy-Tendai Kangere who will bring together for discussion Hazel Chu, Lord Mayor of Dublin, linguist Federico Faloppa, Associate Professor in Italian Studies and Linguistics at the University of Reading, and Zbyszek Zalinski, Diversity and Inclusion Lead at RTÉ. The panel aims to discuss the use of language to build peace and reconciliation to create inclusive environments and celebrate diverse identities and how to also counteract hate and division.
Funded by the Arts Council Ireland, South Dublin County Council and Creative Ireland Programme, the festival is partnered with RTÉ Supporting the Arts.
The festival has ticket options ranging from no charge to four euro.
Every adult and child is provided with a festival pack consisting of a book, an A5 glossy poster and a copy of the Create newsletter which includes an interview with Festival Director, Francesca La Morgia.
Every adult festival pack includes a signed copy of ‘Little Optimist: a pocket full of joy’, written and illustrated by Ashwin Chacko, along with a surprise gift. Ashwin Chacko is the illustration artist for the visuals of this year’s Mother Tongues Festival.
Every child’s festival pack includes a copy of ‘Language Explorers’, Mother Tongues’ activity book and a WoW cards deck. The WoW card deck is a social card game from “Fierce Woman” featuring 30 new cards of fierce women from Ireland, Croatia, Slovenia, and North Macedonia.
Every donation to Mother Tongues will help the festival’s mission to build new inclusive creative spaces for the public.
For more information on the Festival, please click here.