BLUE MOUNTAINS ARTIST GEORGINA GALEA ASKS Y?
There is more to local Blue Mountains artist Georgina Galea’s artwork, Y? than first meets the eye. Wrapped in meaning and symbolism, Y? draws the viewer’s attention to the importance of language and leaves them asking ‘why?’.
Growing up as a first-generation Australian Georgina was not taught to speak Maltese, the native language of her immigrant parents. She acquired snippets of the language but was unable to have a complete conversation with her Maltese grandparents.
This personal experience sparked a series of artwork for Georgina focussed on the role of native language in conveying culture to the next generation.
“Language is the most fundamental element of all cultures,” says Georgina “it forms a person’s identity with oral history, customs and valuable knowledge embedded in one’s mother tongue.”
In the Maltese alphabet, the letter Y does not exist. Georgina’s use of the letter Y is symbolic, inviting the viewer to ask ‘why’ we are letting certain languages disappear.
According to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) over 250 Indigenous Australian languages exist, including 800 dialectal varieties spoken on the continent at the time of European settlement in 1788. Today it is estimated only 13 of these Indigenous languages are passed on to the next generation.
Georgina aims to draw attention to these alarming statistics through the symbolism of the eucalyptus leaves that adorn the entirety of the artwork.
Y? is currently exhibited at Sculpture at Scenic World in the Blue Mountains, Australia. Installed in ancient Jurassic rainforest, it enchants visitors from all over the world who consequently discuss the piece amongst themselves in a myriad of native tongues.
Sculpture at Scenic World has transformed the ancient rainforest to an open-air gallery, showcasing 25 works along Scenic World’s elevated boardwalk daily until May 12, 2019.
This year’s free public program also features an indoor exhibition, Sculpture Otherwise, at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and TRACKS, a trail of outdoor artworks exhibited at iconic Blue Mountains locations.