Magda Stawarska-Beavan

© Magda Stewarska-Beavan, 'Mother Tongue', 2009,

Magda Stawarska-Beavan (UK, Lancashire)
Mother Tongue (2009)
Set of 3 screen-prints with sound installation


In Mother Tongue I am trying to represent the passage of time and preserve the ephemeral moments in the development of a child’s relationship with language. This is essentially an investigation into the parental obsession with passing on our identity through and to our children through language.

Traditional printmaking methods (screenprint on paper) connect with new technologies (digital audio). I use the recorded sounds of my child’s bilingual speech development, from his first noises when he was born, to the words and sentences that he has spoken since; from birth to three years old, in three minutes.

The three prints depict recognizable visual representations of sound such as waveforms and phonetic symbols. These marks are visual artefacts of temporal sounds. Although these particular marks are associated with the objectivity of technology and linguistics, the refined use of aesthetics, colour tone and scale bring to the work a level of personal account.

Magda Stawarska-Beavan’s work is held in permanent collections in Europe and Asia and over the past ten years her work has been on show in group and solo exhibitions over four different continents.