Creating the story of |Xau

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Selection of artist works from the film of |Xau

Virginia MacKenny

Ndaya Ilunga

Margaret Courtney-Clarke

Contributors to the film

  • Prof Sylvia Vollenhoven – Script, Concept & Editing
  • Ryan Lee Seddon – Cinematographer
  • Kutelani Rasikhuthuma – Online Editor
  • Prof Virginia MacKenny – Concept and Main Artworks: Of Holes and Things, Woodrose Explosion y Sharp Edged Grains
  • Ndaya Ilunga – Word and Graphic Art: It’s Only Words y Playing with Empty Words
  • Hilton Schilder – Music: Kalahari Thirst, Alter Native y eMail to the Ancestors
  • Basil Appollis – Voiceover artist
  • Bradley van Sitters, aka Danab ||Hui !Gaeb di !Huni!nâ !Gûkhoeb – Khoekhoegowab voiceover artist

Lakota flute music by Tiokasin Ghosthorse

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Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Cheyenne River Lakota, speaks internationally of Peace, Indigenous and Mother Earth perspective.

A master musician of the ancient Lakota flute, he performs worldwide and has featured at Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ruben Museum, Morgan Library, Apollo Theatre, United Nations, and uncountable other venues. 

Butterfly against the wind

Sunrise Moon

Tiokasin’s recent album Akantu: Origin Series

“This was a gathering of Original Nations and notions of beings with the elemental evolution of letting the mystery go where it will with music, spoken word and presence.”

“The music, which I call ‘improv-intuition,’ is intended to remove listeners from the constant hustle and bustle of cities and urban areas everywhere in the world and draw them into the stillness of my world,”

“Mine is a world where simple listening and Mother Earth transcend all other concerns.”

– Tiokasin Ghosthorse

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Gwae fi – lost names of the lapwing

Bricolage depicting local names of the lapwing, by Elinor Gwynn, North Wales, UK

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Bricolage with a painting of a lapwing and a variety of its Welsh names overlaid on a map of the area around Morfa Dinlle
Spring at Morfa Dinlle: local Welsh names of the Lapwing

Elinor says: The number of different Welsh dialect names for lapwings is a reflection of how common the bird used to be. Collectively this set of names describe perfectly not only the distinctive features of the bird – the soft, feathered ‘horn’ curling at the back of its head and the lapwing’s unique repertoire of clicking, gurgling and whistling calls – but also the range of typical lapwing habitats.  However, as lapwing numbers have dwindled, and as people’s everyday encounters with these birds have become less frequent, the local dialect names have also fallen out of use.

As I watched the lapwings wheeling and tumbling above Morfa Dinlle last spring I tried to recall as many as I could of these local names. They ended up spinning in my head, almost as if they were caught up in the vortex of feathered flight paths that filled the skyscape. I was struck by the entangled storylines of species decline and loss of language diversity; with one mirroring the other, and both resulting in blander landscapes and more impoverished lives. One of the lost local lapwing names – ‘Gwae fi’ [Woe is me] seemed to sum up perfectly my thoughts on that April morning. 

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Seed drawings

Joan Gabie was commissioned by living-language-land to create a series of drawings based on seeds for their website. Her ink drawings of seeds and seed-bearing plants are intended to reflect the ethos of nurture and new growth.

“Seeds are like little worlds: contained within them the endless possibilities for life and newness. 

Continue reading > “Seed drawings”
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