Fairy Tales (The Dark Side)

In her Master of Visual Arts research, Alice Jones examined the portrayal and treatment of women in fairy tales as it relates to the treatment of women in contemporary New Zealand. Fairy tales often reflect the experiences and preoccupations of women, especially women of a marriageable age. Alice's position is that the way women are viewed and portrayed historically is reflected in their social status and wellbeing in the present.

Alice Jones presents a modern interpretation of two fairy tales.

Part of the investigation involved researching and analysing relevant fairy tales from various aspects, including historical and feminist considerations. The work of theorists such as Jack Zipes, Marina Warner, Andrea Dworkin, and Clarissa Pinkola Este̒s provided evidence of the relevance of fairy tales to the lives of contemporary women. Alice also researched two aspects of abuse faced by women in contemporary New Zealand: intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. One in three New Zealand women experience intimate partner violence and one in four experience sexual assault. Additional research involved examining the work of feminist artists who used fairy tales for inspiration, and work by textile artists which provided inspiration for Alice's textile works. Women artists have made quilts both as art and as feminist symbols in order to address social injustice.

Two fairy tales formed the basis for Alice's research and inspiration for her art work. “Bluebeard”, by Charles Perrault, describes the tale of a murderous husband and was chosen for its relevance to the subject of intimate partner violence. Different versions of the “Sleeping Beauty” fairy tale provided insight into the issue of sexual assault. The artworks made by Alice, based on these fairy tales are a feminist response to intimate partner violence, and to sexual assault against women in contemporary New Zealand.

March 2022