Synopsis of Soliloquy
Hello, and thank you for visiting my website! This is the body of work I submitted for my masters in Fine Art in 2014. The work that you will look at or have looked at, took four years to complete. Each drawing from section I to III took about 3 months to render because much research into its physical and conceptual development was done. I built sets, took photographs, did digital manipulations and drew (for ages). It was a long and difficult process but was very beneficial to me as an artist and a person. All of the images within this website, except for the short film, are for sale as prints on archival paper at the orginal size or size of your choice.
For those who would like a deeper understanding of my work, I have included some of the research I did with personal notes below. It was difficult for me to share these notes, and sometimes I wondered if it was wise. However, my work is deeply personal and intimate by nature, and to exclude it would leave the images hollow.
The research I did at the time addressed the fact that patriarchal discourse is pervasive and persistent, and is a dominant ideology in western culture, of which fairy tales are an example. This is problematic as women’s perceptions of themselves are influenced. I can attest to this in my own life.
... subconsciously women may transfer from fairy tales into real life cultural norms which exaltpassivity,
dependency, and self-sacrifice as a female’s cardinal virtues. In short, fairy talesperpetuate the patriarchal
status quo by making female subordination seem a romantically desirable, indeed an inescapable fate.
Karen E. Rowe (in Zipes, 1986:209)
As the quote above states, patriarchy has been able to manipulate female subordination into a desirable romantic ideal which is most commonly perpetuated in western fairy tales. I acknowledge this manipulation occurring in my own life. The studio work, “Soliloquy: the untold story of Sleeping Beauty’s dream”, represents two interlinking events in my life: my spiritual development and a relationship with an ex partner. Both presented struggles of their own, but the interlinking factor was that my partner did not share in my spiritual perspective and was often unsupportive. But even though these negative points existed, I felt dependent on his love for my happiness and thus had unconsciously succumbed to the western fairy tale idealisation of marriage as the raison d’être for female fulfilment.
Initially during the relationship, I was passive to my emotions and these idealisations. Later on, when I became a more mature spiritual person I was more aware of my feelings due to the contrast of my once passive self and my now awakened self. My faith gave me a purpose higher than marriage. This higher purpose enabled me to critically evaluate that my partner was wrong for me because of the way he responded to my beliefs. Marriage to this man would bring me no ‘happily-ever-after’ for which I so longed. Therefore I broke off the engagement, and decided rather to wait for a man who shared and supported my beliefs. The story of “Soliloquy” reflects the struggle of that process, that journey of letting go of a potential future marriage and of relinquishing the ideologies I lived under before becoming a spiritual person which provided me with a sense of empowerment.
The character of Sleeping Beauty was ideal as the one hundred year curse of sleep and awakening created a possibility in a re-vision of a ‘rebirth’, which could form a parallel of my life. In “Soliloquy” Sleeping Beauty represents me, as such she is my alter ego and I tell my story through her. When I have represented her in the artworks, I use myself as a model and they can be seen as self-portraits. Further reasons for choosing the fairy tale of “Sleeping Beauty” is that: Firstly, Sleeping Beauty’s period of sleep is often symbolically linked to death, depression and spiritual darkness because of its ‘dark’ and ‘dormant’ nature which represented my passive, uncritical nature which had succumbed to patriarchal idealisations. And secondly, the ‘happily-ever-after’ nature which fairy tales prescribe to are so often contrary to real life which I came to realise. A rite of passage is incorporated into the re-vision as it represents the long, difficult, emotional and spiritual struggle I undertook so that I would no longer be passively subjected to my feelings and instead become actively positioned and distanced from the events. I have felt that the process of re-visioning, re-visioning itself, and actualising it in the form of drawings has empowered me in the sense that I could give my feelings a ‘voice’ and share it with others.