Translingual Identity and Art: Marc Chagall's Stride Through the Gates of Janus
Keywords:multilingualism, Russian Jewish identity, creativity, visual art, Marc Chagall, literary and artistic translingualism
This hybrid piece, combining scholarly inquiry in several disciplines (from bilingualism and literary theory to visual art, cultural anthropology, and psychoanalysis) with the genre of personal essay, explores the concept of multilingual identity and creativity in visual art. Establishing the parallel with the phenomenon of 'literary translingualism' and exemplifying most salient identity features of several translingual writers, I coin the concept of 'artistic translingualism.' The essay is focused on multilingual life and art of an immigrant artist, Marc Chagall, and analyzes his several paintings within the framework of three translingual constructs: duality, ambivalence, and liminality. The complexity of translingual identity, and specifically Chagall's, is illuminated by my personal and my family's Jewish Russian roots and immigrant history, amplifying the historical and human context for understanding of exile, multilingualism, and creativity.
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