Gabriela Capraroiu, Associate Professor of Spanish
The online journal Literature and Art in Translation opens with the painting Untitled inspired by Alí Calderón’s poems. The Ecuadorian artist Isabel Alegría Falconí Núñez, writes the following comment about her work: “I recorded myself reciting in order to hear the poems as I was painting. Personally, I decided to make a response-painting, working more with the sensations thus generated and with linkages with my imagination. Although I listened to several poems in Spanish, three in particular created the space for this narrative: “Madrugada en Toniná,” “Qué extraña agua es esta,” and “Nunca pensé cuando te vi.”
Another contributor, Eden Vásquez, found in translation a way to explore the Zapotec roots of her immigrant family from Oaxaca. She invited her uncle to participate in a collective act of translation. His recording of Eustaquio Jiménez Girón‘s Ma’ biluxe served as an original spoken text, which Eden translated into Spanish and English. “Ya se acabó todo” / “Everything is over” bacame later a point of departure for Abigail Kramer’s painting Absence and for Everything is (not) Over by Raquel Torres.
The online journal Literature and Art in Translation includes such examples of intersection creations. It seeks to bring poets, artists and translators from around the world together for a conversation on the provocative issue of of meaning, sound, and image transfer. The works included respond to different concerns. Sometimes translators have decided to zoom in on the equivalence at word level. Others have chosen to let rhythm define the place of words on a page. As Ruth Trotter points out, the journal is framework for new relationships between texts, as students of art and literature find their own voices.
The first issue features almost entirely translation and art works created by undergraduate students at the University of La Verne. Gabriela Capraroiu, Erin Gratz, and Ruth Trotter serve as editors. This project has been enhanced by the direct participation of international poets Alí Calderón, Mario Bojórquez, Ming Di, Ilya Kaminsky, and Fernando Valverde in readings and symposia at the Harris Art Gallery and the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona. The translators, artists, poets, and editors wish to thank the University of La Verne for sponsoring the events related to the journal release.
Ruth Trotter, Professor of Art
In the early part of the twentieth century, the artist Rene Magritte made a now famous painting titled The Treachery of Images. The painted object on the canvas is a lovingly and meticulously rendered tobacco smoking pipe with text beneath that reads “Ceci n’est pas une Pipe (This is not a Pipe.)” The apparent contradiction between words and images presented
in this work is not a contradiction after all, rather an expression of the fact that the thing is a painting—not the object it represents. Magritte’s declaration that a literal reading is unreliable, if not un-truthful, liberates the artist and the viewer from traditional one-dimensional modes of translation into new multi-dimensional ways of seeing. As a project, Literature and Art in Translation, explores new territories of signification by bringing poets and artists together to navigate the inter-sections between language, image, and meaning. The creative act is always a translation of sorts whether in poetry, painting, or other forms. Literature and Art in Translation is a frame-work for finding these themes and relationships as students of art, literature, and poetry find their own voices.
Erin Gratz, Director of La Verne Online
Literature and Art in Translation is a project that embodies intersectionality of the human experience through the translation of language, expression, and art. My vantage point and interest in this project is a less direct route than the other editors, who are experts in translation and art. My participation was to help make the digital connection between the poetry and the art it inspired.