Dler Mariam Dalo / Shwan Dler Qaradaki  

Babel Confusion - Suppression of the mother tongue via drawing and sound

Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Art and Craft

The artistic research project "Babel Confusion" is a personal artistic reflection on linguistic oppression through drawing and sound. As a Kurd living in Norway, I explore how memories and the loss of a mother tongue are expressed through abstract watercolors with figurative elements and charged texts. This personal and experimental exploration unfolds through fragmented narratives, whispered voices, and an expanded interpretation of drawing.


I aim to establish a visual language where the unsaid and the unclear, which result from oppression and a lack of verbal language, become visible. Through my work, I attempt to examine linguistic oppression through performative video, as a metaphor for oral oppression, and through tactile drawings as a metaphor for a visual language. The project utilizes the drawing's ability to illuminate, transform, and translate inner signals. It seeks to reveal something intangible - a bodily sensation and, above all, the external forces that affect the suppressed minority, the people.


Language plays a central role in my artistic inquiries in several ways. In addition to being concerned with the effects of linguistic oppression and how this manifests visually, I use language as a formal and painterly expression with textual elements in art. I am working on a series consisting of 34 drawings representing the 34 letters of the Kurdish alphabet. Additionally, I engage with text in the form of poetry, storytelling through video, and sound.

My research is based on my own investigations and observations from travels, meetings, and conversations, translations of books, articles, and posts, other people's accounts, and, most importantly, my own experience as a Kurd.


My goal with this research project is to use my artistic practice to explore the consequences of language loss and to investigate how art can depict and represent what disappears into anonymity due to abuse of power. Given that much Kurdish art is subject to censorship, there are few documents that articulate the Kurdish people's perspective on the world.


Shwan Dler Qaradaki wants to investigate the relationship between art and war related question s in relation to individual experiences. He desired to investigate how dramatic life could affect people’s self-image and self-understanding, and he wanted to combine his own experiences with others’ voices to tell stories from our time. With his own and others’ experiences under totalitarian regimes and the loss of freedom that comes with it, he preferred to make human dignity a major theme in his work.



Artistic Research Spring Forum 2024

3rd presentation

Language: Norwegian

ENGLISH: In my presentation, I want to introduce the fundamental reason and driving force behind my project, as well as how this idea has evolved over time. I also want to shed light on how it has had to adapt and change its structure in light of the political challenges I have encountered during my research trips in both Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.


A central part of the presentation will be a live performance where I show a film, including simultaneous interpretation from Norwegian to Kurdish, lasting approximately 8 minutes. I want to discuss why I choose to use watercolor and drawing on paper, as well as why sound becomes an important tool for reflection in my work.


Furthermore, I want to have a conversation about the relationship between fiction and lies as a result of oppression, and how this serves as a survival strategy for many oppressed individuals.    


NORSK: I presentasjonen min ønsker jeg å introdusere den grunnleggende årsaken og drivkraften bak prosjektet mitt, samt hvordan denne ideen har utviklet seg over tid. Jeg vil også sette søkelys på hvordan den har måttet tilpasse seg og endre struktur i lys av de politiske utfordringene jeg har støtt på under mine forskningsreiser både i Tyrkia og Irakiske Kurdistan.


En sentral del av presentasjonen vil være en live-performance der jeg viser en film, inkludert simultan tolkning fra norsk til kurdisk, med en varighet på ca. 8 minutter. Jeg ønsker å diskutere hvorfor jeg velger å bruke akvarell og tegning på papir, samt hvorfor lyd blir et viktig verktøy for refleksjon i mitt arbeid.


Videre ønsker jeg å ha samtale om forholdet mellom fiksjon og løgn som et resultat av undertrykkelse, og hvordan dette fungerer som en overlevelsesstrategi for mange undertrykte.

Artistic Research Autumn Forum 2023

2nd presentation

Language: Norwegian

In my upcoming presentation, I intend to present documentation of my artistic research, showcase my results thus far, and discuss the challenges I have encountered in the process. I will also delve into the methodology and the context surrounding the project. Additionally, I plan to screen two short films that are both an integral part of the project and serve as a reflective component for the project.