Representation in Fantasy
For the past year I have been working on a series of images based off of fairy tales.
Fairy tales have been a constant in my life since my earliest of memories. I think that’s fair to say about most people. What did you read and watch as a kid? Fairy tales. It’s near impossible now to separate (for better or for worse) the influential fingerprint Walt Disney and his endlessly talented creative animators, artists, designers and Imagineers have done to cement the tone of the concept of fairy tales and firmly plant them in the pop culture of not only America but the world of the present day in almost everyone's childhoods in not their whole lives.
However, before Disney and his reshaping of the modern public’s appreciation for fairy tales, they weren’t icons of fantasy conglomerates but tales told by the people for the people. Fairy tales are global and ancient. Storytelling is older than time and the most ancient of traditions and art forms humans have cherished. Fantasy stories are ingrained in our DNA, in our spirits. “Not every human culture in the world is literate, but every single culture tells stories” (Yash Patel, Medium.com).
That ancient, natural (and common!) connection with fairy tales with every culture and person, and yes, now thanks to Disney, has reintroduced (and reminded us) the fairy tale as topic and genre are not so much a geographic entity but a global one that can be experienced by all, no matter point of origin.
With that being said, it can not go unnoticed that these tales, or more accurately the representation of these tales, have long since been predominantly white and Eurocentric. Though fairy tales are for everyone, and many of the most beloved fairy tales have roots predating even Greek myth and the Bible, we’ve lost the representation in them…
That’s the basis of my exploration of these tales through art, bringing back some of that representation…