Second work in the Word Pictures series. This work is currently on display in the foyer of the National Poetry Library.
Artist Mary Kuper: "I chose to illustrate this word because with climate change, the pandemic and the general state of the world meteorologically and politically it is clear that individual responsibility is ours. It is no use blaming those in charge if we are behaving like idiots ourselves and not engaging."
The text in the artwork reads: Greek ‘idiotes’, origin of the English word idiot, signified a person who had no active role in public affairs, a ‘private individual’. In this sense the word linked directly with the Greek ‘idios’, meaning ‘one’s own’, ‘personal. ‘Idiotes’ also meant ‘layman’, someone without any professional knowledge who is considered by extension to be unskilled, ignorant and finally a fool or jester, ‘stupid’. Only this last derogatory idiot is retained in English today, some reflection perhaps on the value of activism.