2020-2021 Wonderland

Crippling Wonderland

Sabrina Hsu

Artist Statement

Like many other children, I grew up with the movies and picture books of Alice in the Wonderland. It never was a story that stood out when I was younger, as the deeper delicacies didn’t surface until I re-read Carroll’s works when I grew up. The intricacies of mental illnesses and the history and truth of his personality shed layers of light upon the story, albeit some not as pleasant as others.

As a Psychology enthusiast and as someone who is going to graduate school for Psychology, the mental illness aspect became the focal point of my Wonderland project. I immersed myself in the characters and wrote poems for each in their perspective, emphasizing the mental illness part of their personality. Something beautifully simple about fictional fantastical characters is that one trait can define their entire characterization - and with Lewis’ work in this particular story, most of them are characterized by their mental illnesses, their actions and behaviors rooting from their respective illnesses.

Before the pandemic fully hit, the Doheny library became a safe haven for me, as I sat in between book stacks on the 5th floor, letting the silence engulf me. It’s hard to find a moment of silence in such a vibrant school community, as I live so close to campus and engage in many organizations and activities. So I appreciated the strictness of the rules in the Archives and the calmness of the book stacks, and this project definitely kept me occupied enough to keep (somewhat) sane during the pandemic. Below are a couple of pictures of the initial process of me analyzing the book that I drew my project from: Annotated Alice.

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