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Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria, walking on the crosswalk "Wir stehen auf Sprachen!" created by artist Eva Schlegel in front of the Hofburg, the office of the president in Vienna.(© Österr. Präsidentschaftskanzlei) ; 8 May 2008EVA SCHLEGEL

"Wir stehen auf Sprachen!"

(free translated
"We love languages!")

On 8th May 2008 Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria, presented on the occasion of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue the art work "Wir stehen auf Sprachen" (free translated: We love languages!) by Eva Schlegel in front of the President's Office in the Hofburg in Vienna.

You can see on the crosswalk the words "Österreichische Präsidentschaftskanzlei" (what means "Austrian Presidency Office") written in the 7 offiical languages of Austria: in the main language German (around 90% of the Austrians speak German) and the additional languages which represent the long cultural history of Austria: Hungarian, Croatian, Slovenian, Czech, Slovak, Roma. These languages are original (autochthon) Austrian languages.

fig.: Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria, walking on the crosswalk "Wir stehen auf Sprachen!" created by artist Eva Schlegel in front of the Hofburg, the Office of the President in Vienna. Photo: © Österr. Präsidentschaftskanzlei

President Heinz Fischer supports the European goal of multilingualism and honors the work of Eva Schlegel as a symbol for the importance to protect languages and to enrich on this way our society.

In Zeiten, in denen sich Menschen noch immer an zweisprachigen topologischen Bezeichnungen stoßen, soll dieses Kunstwerk vor dem Eingang zur Präsidentschaftskanzlei symbolisieren, dass Sprachen eine unverzichtbare Grundlage unseres Zusammenlebens darstellen, und Mehrsprachigkeit keine Gefährdung, sondern eine Bereicherung ist", Heinz Fischer, President of the Republic of Austria.

The identification of ones own culture through language keeps our global world in balance and enriches our lifestyle. Today multilingualism is recognized as a political goal in Europe and is protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

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Eva Schlegel, born 1960 in Hall in Tyrol, lives and works in Vienna. From 1979-1985 she studied art at the class of Oswald Oberhuber. Since 1997 Eva Schlegel is professor at the Academy of Arts in Vienna. Check out her works at www.evaschlegel.com

European Year of Intercultural Dialogue Europe's richness is its cultural diversity with an important impact on art and design. In the beginning of April 2008 a discussion was held in Brussels under the title “Negotiating differences: A responsibility of artists and cultural institutions” with the aim to give insights on dealing with intercultural dialogue in an artistic sense while creating doorways between cultures. Check out the projects at www.interculturaldialogue2008.eu


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