J U D I T H   W E S T E R V E L D



Someone's mother tongue
installation of blind embossment and ink prints on paper
22 ink prints varying between 54 x 50,5 cm and 66 x 50,5 cm
34 blind embossment prints varying from 56 x 50,5 cm, 50 x 69,5 cm, 76 x 28,5 cm and 76 x 56 cm






someonesmothertongue5 someonesmothertongue3













Someone’s mother tongue focuses on the process of learning a new foreign language and how this affects one’s mother tongue, identity and sense of belonging. Westerveld collaborated with language school SIPI - Stichting Interculturele Participatie en Integratie- and the participation centre eVa en adaM in Amsterdam North where people come to take Dutch language and conversation classes. Talking with teachers and students and observing the classes, Westerveld aimed to record the hopeful crisis that learning a new language brings about. Of her notes and drawings, made during the research, she made metal and wooden letterpress arrangements and stencils from light sensitive toyobo plates. These various compositions were then printed as blind embossment and with ink, before being refined by hand. The prints alternate between the legibility of words and sentences, the visibility of human figures and the disintegration of meaning and distinct form. The images are echoes of the learning process, its frustration and hope, and the way the old and the new begin to intertwine.

Thank you to the students and teachers of language school SIPI-Stichting Interculturele Participatie en Integratie- and participation centre eVa&adaM for sharing their experiences about the process of learning the Dutch language.
Thank you to AGA LAB in Amsterdam and the Print Media department of the University of Cape Town for the use of their fascilities and the technical assistance during the print making process.

Photo credit: Gert-Jan van Rooij