The Little Girl Made of Stone
I am passionate about storytelling and I believe that we all have a story to tell. Perhaps, even a story that made who we are today…
I have started a collaboration with Metaphora Consultancy, which specialises in story craft, creating new opportunities to interpret real life stories. The company works with individual stories for personal affairs and with organisational stories for work-related activities. I have personally experienced the power of stories in my life and I also understand the importance of finding the right words and images to express different points of view. I share with Metaphora this way of thinking. The founders of the company, Paulo and Tricia, have widened my view on stories from different parts of the world.
I was invited to collaborate with the story entitled “The Little Girl Made of Stone”. The original idea was that the story would be interpreted in different kinds of art forms. I had listened to the first version of the story about one year ago and the title of the story immediately gave me strong visions. As I got to know more layers of the story I also acquired new visions. This was a collaborative effort and I believe that we all supported each other by adding new perspectives to the same story. The three pictures shared here are my contribution for this beautiful story of understanding your roots and becoming who you are meant to be.
Made of stone
The little girl made of stone is a story based on real life. It is a story of adoption and adapting to life. In my version of this story I wanted the person who motivated the story to be represented in my metaphorical images. I wanted to add the face of the protagonist in her own story. Her name is Molly.
The story tells about a little girl who was adopted into a family in the Chinese countryside. It was her adoptive father’s wish to bring her into the family. But growing up, she didn’t feel entirely welcomed. Although her father tried his best to make her part of the family, he didn’t know how to show his love. He seemed distant and kept his feelings hidden. The little girl often thought that she wasn’t loved at all.
Apart of feeling as an outsider in her family, other kids kids in the village mocked her, telling that she didn’t look like her parents: ”Your parents are not your parents! You are born out of a stone!”. Those words hurt her deeply.
To start, I wanted to make a picture based on those hurting words, because at the time they affected her sense of belonging. From my interpretation, I saw her inside of a rock, stuck in a cold place, alone. It was my metaphor to represent those children’s words and the loneliness she felt. Cruel words can hurt so deeply.
Part I: ”Born out of a stone”
Then came a time in little girl’s childhood when she was totally tired of being an outsider. One day, the girl did something that her father had warned her not to do. She ate the berries from a forbidden tree. The girl felt sick, really sick, and she fell to the ground. Her father came to her rescue and realized that, without the help of a doctor, she would not survive. He wrapped her in a blanket and he ran with her on his back for miles and miles to the closest city to save her life.
During that journey, little girl understood that her father cared for her deeply.
In this part of the story, I wanted to create an image to illustrate a state of mind or an alternative situation. I saw the wind in her hair when her father was running to save her life. And I saw her getting free from that rocky burden from the time when she felt she was not loved. I wanted to melt those rocks away and release her from the heavy feelings she had.
Part II: ”Heavy burden is falling down”
To finalise my version of Molly’s story, I wanted to create an image that represents hope and light. Based on her childhood experiences and her relationship with her father, she understood that she had the same kind of heart as her father. In this story, the heart is represented as heart of stone. We are used to see the metaphor of heart of stone being associated with a person who is mean, cold and selfish. But the meaning of the heart of stone in this story represents strong love and deep connection. Just like her father, Molly also has a strong heart.
The heart of stone in this story is a metaphor for inner strength and the special bond between a father and his daughter.
Part III: ”The heart of stone”
We shot these photos in the backyard of my studio. There is this magnificent stone wall and I have always wanted to shoot something there. When we came to the spot, Molly said immediately ”There used to be these kind of rocks in my childhoods village.” That was pretty special moment.
Paulo from Metaphora on the left was assisting this photoshoot, Molly in the middle, and me on the right.
Other artists have also created different interpretations for Molly’s story and here you can see a collaboration between the writer Tanya Tynjällä and the illustrator Anne-Mari Guinness with Metaphora, in the voice of Tricia Cleland Silva. In this video you can explore different dimensions of this story.