Ravin Johnson – What Seperates Us From Animals

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Faculty mentor: Coco James

Artist’s Statement: Language is culture. The erasure of language, of an individual’s speech, is akin to killing them before they have died. It is an intimate kind of violence that disconnects people from society and those around them.

This Poem attempts to create a visualization of separation of language. It is three poems, the left, the right, and the combination of the two. Anyway you read it you have eliminated an interpretation of the poem. Sentences and their meanings become forgotten.

In this poem there is no harm from this fact. However in the real world disrespecting someone’s words in such a manner can lead to a disconnect in their own identity. What you say is what you are. For those in the Sign Language speaking community, whose literature is disrespected by academics. For those in Africa, America, India, and other countries similarly colonized, where native languages by the hundreds were eradicated. For those who suffer from unspeakable trauma, with which words cannot convey their emotions. The loss of language to these people, these Human beings, is a loss of self.

‘What Separates Us From Animals’ is meant to highlight and convey the feeling behind the aforementioned, and all unmentioned, linguistic violence. It cannot give a voice to the unheard but it can call them into focus. Because language is not all that separates us from animals.

View my art below!
Questions or comments? Contact me at: Ravinpaksao@gmail.com

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