Lost for Words

© Susan Dorothea White

Lost for Words, 2003
carved salvaged Huon pine, paint, fabric, The Compact Oxford English Dictionary, A Gumbaynggir Language Dictionary, map of Aboriginal Languages of Australia.
94 x 85 x 38 cm

Inspired by the idiom 'lost for words', the sculpture portrays the vulnerability of indigenous cultures. Hands and arms carved from a single piece of Huon pine connect A Gumbaynggir Language Dictionary and The Compact Oxford English Dictionary. The male arm represents the dominant English-speaking culture; its hand grips the index finger of the female Aboriginal hand emerging in a giving gesture from a dictionary of fragments of an indigenous language. Her fingers unfold reluctantly, one still touching the palm in a symbolic effort to retain the language. The assemblage stands on a map showing manifold languages existing before white settlement.

- Susan Dorothea White

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