Alicia Reyes McNamara: Tongue Ties

Throughout 2018 Alicia Reyes McNamara has been working with Church Street children and their families through the FLIP programme at The Portman Family Centre and Gateway Academy primary school.

Workshops investigated ideas of identity, language and code-switching, along with personal and cultural mythologies. Considering the high percentage of children at Gateway Academy who come from bilingual or multilingual homes, every child was invited to choose and share a word, in any language, which became their contribution to a large-scale collaborative artwork that has now been installed permanently in the school’s entrance.

Gateway Academy is the largest neighbourhood primary school, it actively promotes a positive approach to the development of bilingualism. Children who are learning English as a second language have access to a full curriculum and are encouraged to use their home languages as well as becoming fully competent in English.

Responding to the culture of the school the project draws on Alicia’s own lived experience growing up in a Mexican household in Chicago. Previous works aim to challenge incomplete identities constructed by two-dimensional ideas of Latino culture, translating the Mexican American or Chicana identity through her explorations of language, radical code-switching, while weaving elements of Latin American folk art and mythology into multi-layered works of art.

Communal Knowledge is generously supported by John Lyon’s Charity


We use cookies to remember if you logged in or if you’ve interacted with the newsletter subscription form.
Pages that have embedded media such as YouTube videos or Spotify playlists require third party cookies to function.