Samantha Estrella MFA Applied Craft + Design Practicum 2015
Chains of Self-Design: The Transition from Captive to Captor in Fairytales
This body of work is an artistic investigation into the themes of self-restriction and imprisonment within the fairytale genre. I have long been interested in the history of fairytales, how they were once tools used by French women in the salons to exercise their voice and authority in a time when they had none. Close examination of the original tales by Madame d’Aulnoy, reveals a number of main female characters caught in self-spun webs of pain and distress, often from attempting to maintain a lifestyle that meets societal standards. These false notions of duty or expectation are still relevant to the contemporary female, and I use my photography to illustrate this form of imprisonment.
Specifically, I am interested in the transition from “captive” to “captor.” I believe there is a certain point in the stories where the witches, stepmothers, and evil queens and kings cease to be villains and the protagonist continues the imprisonment, either psychologically or physically, themselves. My theory is supported by research in the fields of Jungian psychology and feminism in fairytales.
The images within this series are self-portraits inspired by the tale of Rapunzel and her confinement within the tower. By imagining myself in the place of a character, I assess my own role in the Captor-Prisoner complex. I begin to answer the question, “Are we in fact our only villain?”