Victoria and Albert Museum

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The Beekeeper

The Beekeeper

The Beekeeper, gouache on hot-pressed paper with paper-cut layering, 24 cm x 30.5 cm.

The Beekeeper is an illustration from my own written narrative, as part of my self-negotiated final major degree project. The story sees an ungrateful, lazy, spoilt girl who is swallowed whole by an elderly beekeeper lady as punishment for her disobedience. Whilst inside the beekeeper, the girl reflects on her wrongdoing and repents. This initiates her re-birth and emergence back into the world as a better and selfless woman. There is a lot of symbolism within the story that relates to new life and rebirth - bees, cherries and orchids are a few examples.

The ideas of being confined, engulfed and manipulated from child to adult, or child to unfortunate consequence are a major theme that I am currently exploring in my work, alongside parent-child relationships, disobedience and cautionary tales and the plights of real world difficulties and horrors. I work through fairy tales, taking inspiration from existing stories, or borrowing motifs or characters, and creating my own narratives to illustrate. Each story I write is a moral, cautionary tale to enlighten and awaken the audience. My main ambition is to bring back the darker, harsher and more truthful stories and morals of old into today's society.

This particular illustration shows the girl, Rena, trapped and cocooned inside the beekeeper, and is part of a sequence of illustrations that will form a book.