Stepmother

2011

As children, we can always tell the villain apart from the hero in a story. The straightforward, black and white narratives of fairy tales make them easy to identify, because we are given many visual and behavioral cues to recognize wickedness from a mile away. Very often, there is something obviously unpleasant about a villain’s appearance, such as sharp, exaggerated features. A hero on the other hand is usually attractive. Wrongdoers are simplified and dehumanized as much as possible so that we do not accidentally sympathize with them. In reality, it is not always so easy to tell who is who from their appearance and actions. A sociopath and a true monster can hide behind a beautiful, charismatic persona.

This is why I love revisionist fairytales, where classical stories are retold from an unconventional perspective, exposing the complexities of antagonists and shedding light on their motivations.

Perhaps if fairytales did not simplify people down to the basic character traits and train us to generalize, as adults we would be better equipped to recognize people for who they are rather than what they appear to be. However, most of us can be both heroes and villains depending on who tells the story.

 

Materials:

Bronze-cast crown with sterling silver accents, 256 fresh water Pearls, 97 Rubies, 40 Emeralds, 915 Swarovski crystals, 40 cubic zirconia, 73 Rhinestones, 8 Blue Opals, thousands of glass seed beads, silk muslin, hand-blown glass apple, porcelain, china-paint, industrial springs, magnetic mohair wig. 13.5” (34.5cm) tall.

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