We have been living in Copenhagen for 9 months now and my Danish is worse now than when I left Australia. It turns out that the Danes are just as brilliant at English as they in their native tongue and that more often than not, it’s just easier for everyone to communicate in English…
Danish is also a very difficult language to learn… Often words are long, joined together in ways they wouldn’t be in English, made up of vowels and pairing of letters which are unfamiliar and most frustratingly for me, never pronounced how I would read them. But, to me, Danish is beautiful because it is different and I especially love being reminded that I am living in a Nordic country when I see unfamiliar vowels hidden in amongst familiar letters.
As a way of exploring the Danish vowels (a, e, i, o, u, y, æ, ø, ō,) and to add a few new words to my vocabulary, I decided to illustrate them. This task proved interesting, strange, comical and difficult at times… But mostly, I love that at the end of this project, I had a juxtaposition of words and letters in front of me in compositions which in one way was familiar and in others seemed to make no sense in my home language.
Another thing I love about this body of work is that it is exhibiting in my favourite part of Copenhagen throughout the rest of the month as my first solo exhibition! The exhibition is running in Nørrebrohallen featuring all 9 of my vowel artworks and although small, I am super proud of what I’ve achieved. An internationally exhibiting artist, an exhibition of alphabetic illustrations featuring unicorns, yaks and otters doing the washing up, who would have known? Take that art school!
If you are reading this from Australia (or maybe from somewhere else in the world, I would love to know in the comments section!) you can check out the entire collection in the ‘Bodies of Work’ tab of the website. But for now, here are a few mix-match illustrated Danish vowels and their translations. Enjoy! 🙂
‘E is for unicorn, squirrel and autumn.’
‘I is for polar bear and ice-cream.’
‘Ø is for lizard, eyeshadow and eyelashes.’
(Øgle, øjenskygge, øjenvippe.)