Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Do's & Don'ts of Social Distancing Fairy Tales by Erin-Claire

"DO be like Little Red Riding Hood: take essentials to elderly and isolated relatives (but don't bring home any wolves/viruses!)"

Important note: The need for human connection is directly linked to mental health, yet, right now, we need to stay physically apart from each other in order for us all to have our best chance at survival and to protect the most vulnerable. With mental health becoming a serious issue after months of being forced to keep in-person interactions to a bare minimum, and no end to the coronavirus threat yet in sight, it is now being suggested that we replace the term "social distancing" with "physical distancing", to emphasize the importance of maintaining physical precautions while encouraging people to have and create connections in other ways. 

When the pandemic hit and we all went into quarantine in a global effort to slow down the spread of coronavirus, Erin-Claire began making illustrations of fairy tales as both examples and cautionary tales about social distancing. 

It's a very fresh and timely reframing of fairy tales, showing how they can be read and re-read in constantly new ways, helping us to reflect on our current situations, telling tales to remind ourselves of both consequences and possibilities, but above all, that we are all human and struggle with similar things, no matter where we are.

The diversely talented Australian artist, storyteller, and speaker, Erin-Claire Barrow, better known as just Erin-Claire, has been working with fairy tales for quite some time now and is passionate about diversity and representation in stories and empowering people, women especially. Her feminist fairy tales illustration series led to her speaking at #TedXCanberra on this very subject (you can see that HERE) and she has many more stories to tell and feels fairy tales can help us in so many more ways.

The captions below each image are the companions for the illustrations and, in that mysterious and wonderful way of fairy tales, ground us amid a sea of false narratives, and encourage us to get to the heart of issues we're dealing with and face them, head-on.

With "vigilance-fatigue" setting in, sometimes it helps to get the same reminder in a different way to re-energize us into being vigilant and protecting each other again. We think Erin-Claire's #SocialDistancingFairyTales series might help to do just that. 

DON'T be like the True Sweetheart: Now is not the time to travel the world looking for an ex who forgot about you, attend his wedding ball three nights in a row, win him back then abscond to YOUR castle for yet another wedding party.

DON'T be like the Pied Piper of Hamelin: encouraging large gatherings in public places.

DO be like Rapunzel in her tower: just two visitors and only ever one at a time.

DO be like the witch in Jorinda and Joringel (especially if elderly and vulnerable): if any visitors you don't want come too close, turn them into birds or freeze them in place.

DON'T be like the Twelve Dancing Princesses: sneaking out of your home every night to dance your shoes to pieces with enchanted (or enchanting) princes.

DO be like the Lady from Llan y Fan Fach: if your partner is violent towards you, it is absolutely ok to leave your home to travel somewhere safe or seek help. Also to take all their cows, horses and other livestock.

Fairy Tale Bonus of the Day:
We had to include one of our favorite ink illustrations by Erin-Claire. Though this piece was created for a previous #Inktober (a yearly challenge for artists everywhere), rather than a specific work for her portfolio, it immediately caught our eye and showcases some of the lovely storytelling that comes through in her illustrations. It is titled "Wise Women", and reminded us that though we have to remain socially distant, we can still send magic into the world from where we are and help build a better future.
Thanks, Erin-Claire!
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Fearnot by Erin-Claire
The Six Swans by Erin-Claire
You can find Erin-Claire in these places around the web listed below (click to go to her sites), and continue to follow her #socialdistancingfairytales as she adds any, along with her continuing feminist fairy tales work and possibly even discover some lesser-known tales along the way:

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