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Australian Artists Re-Envision Mistranslated Covid-19 Information in 26 Languages



Re Agency creates Mistranslations to visually communicate Covid-19 information with care whilst supporting the Australian Government's ongoing efforts

Australian Artists Re-Envision Mistranslated Covid-19 Information in 26 Languages

Following the recent success of Melbourne-based exhibition Mistranslations, the exclusive prints will be available online to the public from today, Wednesday 22nd September. Originally launched as part of Melbourne Design Week, Mistranslations aims to bridge the cultural and linguistic gap between communications from official sources and diverse, multicultural communities throughout Australia with 48 designers coming together to design 18 prints in 26 languages.

From today, Aussies across the country can nab a print, with proceeds going towards Connection Arts Space (CAS), a community-focused arts organisation based in the City of Greater Dandenong, VIC, which prioritises artists of asylum seeker and migrant backgrounds. 

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, concise, correct and effective communication was critical, yet miscommunication and misinformation were rife not only here in Australia, but globally, resulting in a disempowerment of those that were already vulnerable. Using Melbourne Design Week’s brief ‘Design the world you want’, Re Agency created Mistranslations, to visually communicate COVID-19 information with care whilst supporting the Government's ongoing efforts to reach every Australian. 

After forming a team of amazing artists - individually handpicked to help bring Mistranslations to life - those involved began to actively engage impacted minority groups, and help create a solution that would also bring greater attention to the issues at hand. One submission saw a collaboration between an English speaking designer and an Indigenous Djambarrpuyngu-speaking park ranger. The ranger noted that in her community, 1.5m social distancing was very difficult because people often live between multiple houses at any time. 

The final result included an exhibition, featuring the created works at the Honey Bones Gallery in Collingwood, Victoria, National press attention with two articles appearing on SBS online and the work was shortlisted for three Best Awards. 

“It was a privilege for Re to organise and be part of Mistranslations. At its heart, this exhibition aimed to promote inclusivity and transparency for underrepresented members of the community. 

These posters firmly put communication back in the hands of the minorities it directly affected, allowing them to speak for themselves, in their own voice. As a team, we have been so inspired by the creative response, the submissions were uniquely insightful and full of a nuance that has been missed by more generic mass communication," says Sumita Maharaj, associate design director, at Re Agency. 

Now, after the successful launch of the exhibit, Mistranslations will be moving online, continuing its efforts to continue to communicate to the 39% of Australians who are culturally and linguistically diverse (Diversity Arts Australia) and miss out on important health information due to low engagement.

Prints are available here.

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Genres: Illustration

Re, Wed, 22 Sep 2021 08:39:13 GMT