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Wednesday, August 29 at 7pm, Kärt Summatavet will be giving a lecture from the series MÜ City Lectures on the topic The Visual Mother Tongue: Patterns of Memory and the Senses Reflected in Our National Art. 

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Free admission. A small donation would be appreciated.

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Photo of Kärt: Ülar Linnuste


The Visual Mother Tongue: Patterns of Memory and Senses Reflected in Our National Art

Examining patterns in national art and national folk costumes, we recognize that they are ours, we appreciate and understand what we see in the context of our acquired knowledge, skills, emotions, and values. National folk costumes, patterns, carpets with geometric shapes, symbols engraved or burned into wooden beer mugs and chests, red and white patterned belts, mittens knitted by Kihnu women found in museums and in handicraft shops, they all awaken emotions inside us - whether they make us happy and delighted or scornful and indifferent. Many people make their own folk costumes, use old belt patterns to decorate prints, paste them onto websites, t-shirts, and shopping bags. However, despite all of this I feel that our own national art has become a foreign language; due to major changes in the 20th century we have forgotten the stories and substance of our mother tongue. The visual mother tongue - thoughts that have taken a tangible shape, eternal elements of imaginations, core stories of the mythological worldview, personal experiences, shared stories, and patterns of the senses and language that we have brought with us from childhood that our ancestors "wrote down." The profound substance of the mother tongue expressed through national art is worth rediscovering and relearning how to "speak" and "write" our dear language. 

About the Speaker

Kärt Summatavet is an Estonian jewelry artist whose creations reflect national patterns and traditions from older cultures. She is also a freelance graphic designer, illustrator, lecturer, scholar, and an inventor-innovator. She defended her PhD in art and design at Aalto University in Helsinki with the highest honour laudatur. Her creations, scholarly work, and books are dedicated to introducing the mythological worldview of Estonian and Finno-Ugric cultures and making sense of the contemporary world. Kärt researches the power of creating - how people think and "write" in the language of symbols when creating handicraft and using patterns. Kärt has worked at the Estonian Academy of Arts and the University of Tartu as a lecturer. She has also been a scholar at Aalto University and currently teaches university students industrial design in China at the Guangdong Technical University, specifically how to derive inspiration from tradition and create new from the valuable elements of the old. 


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