Nora's Transformative Journey: From A Doll's House and The Little Mermaid to The Way Home
Al-Harthi, Rania (Hart)
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This critical engagement paper employs the practical work and research conducted for my MFA graduating installation performance The Way Home. For decades, domestic violence researchers analyzed abused women coping with abuse based on their psyche, which portrayed them as having certain needs that abuse fulfils. The assumption that there is something about abused women that makes them want to be abused overlooked major stress and obstacles that occur when choosing to leave an abusive relationship. While the pursuit of breaking the cycle of violence remains an important issue, I argue for giving more value to women's thoughts and feelings as they undergo the transition to living life on their own. Human pain and social suffering, past and present, can be rendered through art in such a way that its representation nurtures and illuminates life. Art can contribute to blocking the repetition compulsion of gendered violence; in particular, as I have found, it can make its mark through visual re-cognition, textual re-telling and physical re-enactment. As an artist, I found myself equipped with the will for self-preservation and the drive to find a sense of being in contextualizing home through the act of art. In Chapter One, I use women's intercultural performance, feminist nomadism, and postmodern fairy tales and myth portrayal to outline the aesthetic, critical and cultural context of this project. In Chapter Two, I discuss current theoretical constructions of the social and cultural discourse that informs gender violence, as well as the interdisciplinary nature of my work. In Chapter Three, I discuss the conceptual and practical methodology of the project, and conclude, in chapter four, with the possible outcomes.