It appears we landed in front of a cute little wooden house. In fact, all around us we see picturesque wooden houses. We must be in the village? And it appears everything even the churches and the synagogues are made of wood?
A young woman walks towards us, and we ask her who lives in this house. With a frown on her face she tells us that this is the house of the Shagal family. The father Zachar sells fish, the mother Feige-Ite is the owner of a little grocery store and they have nine children...
Marta and I looked at one another... Chagall? As in the famous French artist? Could this really be? Was he born here... in Vitebsk? What was he doing here? I wonder if we’ll bump into him? Is he here now? When we looked back at the woman, she had already gone.
Catching our breath, we walked towards the little house in front of us and peered into the front window. It was getting dark. Suddenly, we noticed the family coming home. Amongst the chaos of such a large family the eldest boy seemed to stand out to us. We watched him walk into a little room where he brought with him a book, a piece of paper and pencil, and began to draw. This must be Marc Chagall!
While the boy started to sketch on his little wooden desk, his mother entered his room. We heard her ask: ‘Moishe, what are you doing? I am drawing mother, the boy replied. I saw one of friends drawing. It was so amazing! I’ve never seen such things. I borrowed a book from my friend and I’ve been trying to copy the paintings. Look!’ The boy opened the drawer of his desk and showed his mother many black and white sketches.
There were sketches of his house and other houses and churches in the village. He’d drawn portraits, pictures of fish his father sold, and many Jewish symbols.
His mother looked surprised and told him: ‘You are very special Moishe. I knew from the moment you were born. I will try to help you achieve everything in this life, but for now, please do your homework and put these useless sketches away’.
The boy looked at her and said, ‘But mom look! I also drew the synagogue. This one I want to give to dad! I’m sure he will like it’. His mother smiled and left him in his room. Immediately, the boy began drawing with such concentration and passion we knew this just had to be Marc Chagall.
This is unbelievable! We are in front of Marc Chagall’s house and just witnessed a master artist’s first paintings! Here in Belarus in the small little village of Vitebsk. All of a sudden it hit us… one of his most famous paintings is of a couple flying over a small village…this village…Vitebsk!!! He must have really loved it here!
We are so extremely proud to call Chagall ours. He was born and raised in Vitebsk and we should celebrate and embrace him just like he embraced Vitebsk in many of his paintings!
As Grisha takes off we see Marc Chagall run to the window and watch us fly off into time. Could we be the inspiration for his famous drawing we wonder with a smile?
***Who did little Mark draw on the large canvas up on the easel you ask? Why that is Dzmitry Sevkovich, a huge supporter of our project and our CF campaign! Thank you Dzmitry! ^_^