home features exhibitions | interviewsprofileswebprojects | gazetteer | linksarchive | forum



Janet McEwan


In February 2009, the U.N. declared the Cornish language officially extinct, despite the fact there are currently at least 300 fluent speakers. Pro-extinction arguments include the suggestion that, as some people are speaking Cornish primarily as a political act, rather than just for everyday use, it is not really alive.

“Every language reflects a unique world-view with its own value systems, philosophy and particular cultural features. The extinction of a language results in the irrecoverable loss of unique cultural knowledge embodied in it for centuries, including historical, spiritual and ecological knowledge that may be essential for the survival of not only its speakers, but also countless others.”  UNESCO



A work using salvaged materials and recycled ideas shown at ‘Fair for the Future’: an event celebrating sustainability in Penwith.

Crate: originally used to ship Murano glass from Venice to Lelant, Cornwall. Paint: from 3 complete and unopened sets of artists oil paints found in Scotland in a skip destined for landfill in  Text: Extracted from ‘Kernewek Kemmyn,” Cornish Dictionary published by the Cornish Language Board. Two copies of this publication were displayed with the work.