Six years ago, Tim Brookes discovered that a third of the world’s 100 alphabets are endangered and began preserving the scripts by carving them into wood. His carvings have been displayed at colleges, art galleries and libraries across North America, including the Smithsonian Institution.
Brookes’ “Endangered Alphabets” exhibit will be showcased July 15 through Sept. 23 in Cal State Fullerton’s Salz-Pollak Atrium Gallery.
“Tim Brookes creates carvings using languages that are in danger of becoming extinct, meaning the populations cease to use it or stop passing it on to the next generation,” said University Archivist Patricia Prestinary.
The exhibit will feature 15 carvings of Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
Other works on display will include a multi-media poetry installation and several pieces that examine the relationship between writing, carving, painting and the wood itself.
Committed to promoting a diverse community of learners and scholars, the Pollak Library has invited Brookes, an associate professor at Champlain College in Vermont, and several CSUF faculty members to present related lectures in September.
“Written language has allowed humans to convey ideas and complex concepts for thousands of years. If we lose these languages, we lose some of the heart, soul and history of cultures around the world,” said Prestinary. “It’s a topic that linguists and anthropologists often talk about, but it’s important to bring greater awareness to our students to expand their global consciousness.”