Written by Paola Torres, Frida Larios’ studio intern.
Being an international student, I felt flattered with my recent experience. As an Adobe Design Achievement Award finalist, I received a ticket to Taipei to attend the ADAA Awards, the Taipei World Design Expo 2011, and the 2011 IDA Congress. Taipei is an amasing city, with gorgeous monuments, a super well-organised transportation system, fabulous people, and of course, exotic food.
Once in Taipei, I had the opportunity to visit the Originality 100 – International Indigenous Cultural And Creative Design Exhibition at the National Taiwan University of the Arts’ Art Museum. This collection exhibited more than 100 pieces of international cross-cultural and domestic aboriginal designs. The designs originated from aboriginal cultures and totems, combining current design concepts and applications.
Mother Tongue exhibition is an INDIGO – the International Indigenous Design Network – project. It is a cross-cultural platform to open discussion around the role of contemporary indigenous design and to encourage collaborative projects that deepen our understanding of people’s culture in our visual world of this 21 century.
The exhibition’s introduction read like this:
Mother Tongue – a rapidly changing concept in a world where growing immigration affects not only the economic and social structure of the host
society, but also its culture and, as such, its language.
27 posters were selected from over 500 by designers from around the world. I felt proud when I contemplated the calligraphy poster design of my boss/mentor/teacher/inspiration, Frida Larios. The description of her Mayan poster, named yal-Child of Mother, read the following way:
The Maya natives of Mesoamerica, in their nearly 2000-year ancient hieroglyphic writing, pictured the “thumbs-up” hand as a symbol of harvesting, completing, and binding. In the case of the word ya-AL (yal), the harvest is a child – the fruits of the womb. In the same way our mother tongue is the product of our upbringing and culture. The flames represent the fire coming out of our mouth when we speak – when we speak with the passion of our native language.
I loved the idea of how designers nowadays are involved in this global culture. The role of designers here is crucial, and it is what will someday make a difference in our rapidly changing world. This exhibition was not just a design exhibition. I felt it was design for the people, for the world, its different cultures, and each others roots. Frida Larios, and the rest of the designers, deal with issues about life itself. It is not easy to understand cultures, especially when such racial differences are affecting our society. This exhibition was about a connection to the earth, about learning to accept diversity, and about respecting what others conceive as their Mother Tongue.
All photographs courtesy of Paola Torres, except were noted.