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Faded Words

This work translating two stories from Gunnai/Kŭrnai to Cymraeg was made in October 2015 before a trip to Australia. The stories were written in red and blue texta (marker) on brown paper leaving blank spaces for unknown words. When a mistake was made, I pasted a piece of paper over the mistake and wrote the correct letters over this pasted paper. On my return from Australia, the words had disappeared leaving a blank sheet of paper with the pasted bits. The winter sun, which often flows into the studio onto that wall, had not just faded the words but made them totally disappear. This provided a visceral sense of losing the language. The words, the sentences, the mistakes were still there for me. I can still visualise how the work looked and have photographs that prove it was there, but to everyone else the words, the translation effort might never have existed. After my shock of seeing that the words had disappeared, I realised that this exercise in translating had become a work that represents, literally, what has and is happening to endangered and minority languages.

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