Artist Micro-commissions – “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Jennifer

To support local artists and designers during COVID-19, the Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room created the Micro-Commissions Project. We invited eight CMU students and local Pittsburgh artists to create artworks to be displayed within the room and on a new digital projection installation on the glass wall near the front of the room. Artists were inspired by our themes of language, culture, identity, and personal stories. Each artist had the freedom to choose any medium.

“How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Jennifer Shin

Today, we would like to introduce “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Jennifer Shin.” This is a manifestation of her bilingual experience. “As a bilingual, I go through translation and hindrance whenever I speak my second language. Being overly wary and insecure of the accents or code-switching, I constantly have to re-establish my linguistic identity in this country. In that struggle, I was particularly inspired by the unapologetic kinship with languages and identity that Gloria Anzaldúa advocates in her essay, “How to tame a wild tongue.” This drawing is a process of resolving the relationship between insecure identity and language.”
Jennifer’s artwork is a graphite drawing on Stonehenge paper
“Similar to my experience with language, the drawing has been translated through different medium. I used found images from 1990s American woodwork magazine and study abroad brochures to create a photo collage, which was then transferred into a graphite drawing. Borrowing the title from Anzaldúa’s essay, I examine what it is to be bilingual and insecure.”

About the Artist

You can find more of Jennifer’s work on Instagram @Downy__22 and

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