Debbie Westergaard Tuepah at the City Atrium Gallery


Debbie Westergaard Tuepah
September 9 – November 3, 2014

Mother Tongue
An installation piece using colourful strands of paint that reflect the 81 reported Mother Tongue languages represented in the City of North Vancouver.
Artist Talk: Tuesday, September 16, 12:15-12:45pm
North Vancouver City Hall – Atrium, 141 West 14th Street, North Vancouver
Please join Debbie as she discusses the inspiration and process behind her work.

“A public building like City Hall facilitates the continuous flow of people, ideas, and actions, and those who flow in and out of a city, transform and are transformed by it. At the very essence of such transformation, communication emerges as integral to how communities of inclusivity and diversity engage in ongoing discourse in order to move together and thrive as a communal body. “ Debbie Westergaard Tuepah

This artwork is a response to news articles and research on the cultural significance of language, Canada’s linguistic diversity, and the preservation of endangered languages. It gives expression to the complex human geography of the City of North Vancouver by drawing on recent Statistics Canada census data, with the data-set Mother Tongue standing in as metaphor for communication – an indicator of diversity and origin – and as a data visualization tool.
As a diverse community, the residents of the City of North Vancouver report 81 languages as Mother Tongue – the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the person at the time the data was collected – which equates to 30.8% reporting a non-official language as compared to the national average of 20.6%.
In this artwork the amount of a specific colour of paint represents the number of people who report French or one of the 8 most commonly reported non-official languages as Mother Tongue. The white walled background stands in for English while multi-coloured strands of paint honour the remaining 67 reported Mother Tongues.

City Atrium Gallery, North Vancouver City Hall, 141 West 14th Street l Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm