"Spirit of Marc Chagall"

Mosaic Exhibition 2009

Mary Colson

Mary Colson
Work in progress 1
Work in progress 2

Artist Statement

I have to admit that I was not aware of Chagall’s work so had to do some research by looking at books and Google Image to see what he was all about. I was struck by his use of colour – bold blocks of often blue or yellow and the frequent appearance of happy couples and animals. I particularly liked a piece called Lovers and Flowers which has a yellow theme, a couple and a red bird.
Armed with these impressions I thought about a theme that I could bring Chagall’s style to and came up with the idea of Sweden. I have good friends who are Swedish and we went there to visit for a family holiday this summer. The Swedes have a strong sense of national identity and I have tried to capture their national symbols in my mosaic.
They celebrate the longest day with a Midsummer Festival where they dance around the equivalent of our maypole so I made the pole and dancing couple the centre of my mosaic. The pole is topped with two Swedish flags – they all have flags in their gardens! The sun is bright at the top to signify midsummer.
The Christmas tree and girl in the right hand corner represent the Swedish Lucia celebration observed on the 13th of December. On this day, the darkness is brightened by Saint Lucia, a creature of goodness and light who opens the door to the Christmas season. On her head, the girl is wearing a wreath of lingonberry sprigs with candles to give the effect of a halo.  She also has a white, full-length gown with a red ribbon around her waist. 
The orange horse is a Dalecarlian horse or Dala horse, a representation of a statuette of a horse originating in the Swedish province of Dalarna. In the old days the Dala horse was mostly used as a toy for children but in modern times it has become a symbol of Dalarna as well as Sweden in general. The horses are in every tourist shop in Sweden!
The elk is another popular symbol, so I decided to let him be flying Chagall style through the air. There is a traditional wooden red house and as the Swedes love nature I’ve put random flowers across the whole. I threw in a red bird and the yellow background for Chagall!

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