Gallery - living-language-land



2022   12x12" shadow box

Aibidil: Alphabet

  • Language: Gaelic
  • Region: Western Scotland

Aibidil is the Scottish Gaelic word for ‘Alphabet’. The Gaelic Aibidil has 18 letters and each letter is represented by a tree. The oldest living thing in Western Europe is a 2,000 years old Scottish Yew tree in Fortingall. 

Gaelic is one of the oldest languages spoken in Europe today. It is more than a thousand years older than English and still spoken in Scotland and Ireland.

This ancient affinity between the Gaelic word and the tree embeds a deep association between language and landscape in the original roots of Gaelic. It gives an ecological substance to the alphabet – the foundation of all literacy – a language we can learn by looking at the landscape.

With this piece, I chose to portray a grove of trees rooted deep into the layers of earth, drawing up into their canopy the rich expressions of the Scottish Gaelic tongue. The layers can also be read as tree rings.

For the full description, along with pronunciation, map and short video, click HERE.