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