SYMPOSIUM ART: entre émotions et langues

Brain, emotions, language, art and creativity




Explore how neurobiology, the study of emotions, and mother language have an impact on creativity and art appreciation.


The Bureau des regroupements des artistes visuels de l’Ontario (BRAVO) is hosting a symposium that aims to discuss about the interplay between emotions, languages, and creativity in the context of a multilingual society. The symposium will draw on various fields of study, including neurobiology, anthropogeny, psycholinguistics, psychology, sociology, political science, metaphysics, and hermeneutics (the art of understanding).



Toronto |  April 5 – 7  2022

Royal Ontario Museum

In hybrid format | in-person and virtual


Nisidotaw-Aki TorontoGiinawind-Toronto

Nisidotaw maanda aki, zagaswidiwin kina bimaadzig Mississauga of the Credit miinwaa Anishnabeg miinwaa Chippewa miinwaa Haudenosaunee miinwaa Wendat bimaadjig. Gaye nisidotaw gakina bimaadjig zhinkazidwinInuit miinwaa Metis.Toronto nisdotaw maanda mazingan waaki-midaaswi-shay-niswi wiiji-Mississaugas of the Credit.

Reconnaissance des territoires traditionnels (Toronto)

Nous reconnaissons que la terre sur laquelle nous nous réunissons est le territoire traditionnel de nombreuses nations, notamment les Mississauga du Crédit, les Anishnabeg, les Chippewa, les Haudenosaunee et les Wendat, et abrite maintenant de nombreux peuples diversifiés des Premières Nations, des Inuits et des Métis. Nous reconnaissons également que Toronto est couvert par le Traité 13 avec les Mississauga du Crédit.

Land Acknowledgement for Toronto

We acknowledge the land we are meeting on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit

"Rendez-vous" at the Museum in









The emotions that arise in any cultural setting are intimately linked to the mother language. In Ontario, more than thirty languages are actively spoken—Aboriginal, European, Asian, African—but after English, French remains the second most used language*. French language manifests in all artistic forms that contribute to the cultural vitality of the province, including literature, music, theater, and visual arts.

To further consolidate the contribution of the Francophone community in Ontario’s cultural institutions, as part of its 30th anniversary, BRAVO is organizing a symposium where emotions, languages, and creativity are highlighted to promote a humanistic approach of society through the respect of the mother tongue, a mirror of the future.

* (Statistics Canada, 2012, 2011 Census, Ottawa)





In the current digital context where English language prevails, Francophone visual artists face a twofold challenge. First, French as a tool for self-expression of identity and emotion is subordinated to English, which continues to consolidate its dominance on the digital, museum and contemporary art scenes. Secondly, new technologies are reshaping the artist’s profession, as it is difficult to compete with the omnipresence and speed of works made with the help of artificial intelligence. Faced with this challenge, artists seek to stand apart from technology by claiming their biological, emotional, and social essence, hence their strength and the importance of the mother language. This quest calls for a better understanding of the sources of human creativity, the role of language and the emotional impact of the artwork on the audience.

Languages are emotional mediums, but since most of the arts are disseminated in English, the symposium will discuss the role of emotions as a primary source of art creation and appreciation, and the specific issues that emerge in the context of a multilingual society.


Language as a vehicle of artistic expression

Language is as much a trigger as it is a vehicle for the emotions that lie at the root of creativity. Usually, artists express themselves in their mother tongue because of its emotional power. However, the supremacy of the English language in the world encourages artists to use it for a more effective diffusion of their work.

Visual artists facing competition from new technologies

The amazing development of artificial intelligence allows algorithms to produce and distribute creations in real time. Faced with this reality, artists are increasingly questioning their creative power and their role in society. In this quest, artists aim to grasp their creative essence as biological and social beings whose emotions and languages combine in an optimal way. Also, to better fulfill their social role, artists need to elucidate the nature of the emotional impact of the artwork on the spectators.




Expressions of the passions of the soul by Charles Le Brun | Copyright Bibliothèque nationale de France (B.n.F.).



  • What happens in people’s brains when they create?
  • What happens in ours when we listen to music, contemplate a work of art, read a literary text or attend a performance?
  • Why do some works produce more emotion than others?
  • Does language influence the reception of a work of art?
  • In short, where does the biological power of human creativity lie?












© icscis | bravo 2021


Reflecting the Francophone community in Ontario, since 1991 BRAVO has been gathering visual, media and craft artists to support them in their respective milieus, enabling them to achieve their professional goals.



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