January 31, 2020

What is it that sustains us?

Esyllt Lewis, 23

This word and picture essay examines the connections I make within my art practice between the erosion of land and the erosion of language, and how the relationship between powerful languages and minority languages echoes the effect of capitalism on our natural landscapes. I wrote a bilingual essay, seeing it as an opportunity to further my research in terms of the resistance of the Welsh language to English; the relationship between an historically oppressed minority language living next door to the most powerful language on the planet, the language of capital, empire and homogeneity. Among the contexts where English has a hegemony is the world of art, therefore using Welsh in this essay was a way of challenging this hegemony. The words in this essay are interspersed with examples of my drawing practice, which are themselves concerned with using language to reflect on issues surrounding climate anxiety and cultural anxiety. By examining our differences through creative means, we can begin to celebrate and preserve the variety of nature and human life, and resist the forces that threaten this diversity.