South African Artist Explores Fairy Tales

South African artist Hannalie Taute stitches haunting images onto smooth, black rubber. In her award-winning series, Rubber Ever After, she use fairy tale motifs to delve into her connection with her spouse, children and inanimate objects. The “ever after” title stems from rubber’s resistance to decomposition.

“I’ve been exploring the theme of ‘relationships’ and ‘play,’ trying to figure out the psychology behind them – especially relationships with toys and dolls,” Taute told South African newspaper The Times. “A lot of inspiration came from books and stories. As Margaret Atwood once said: ‘In the end, we’re all just stories.’ ”

Taute has been working with rubber since 2012, when she started making toys from the durable material to earn money. A client’s request to embroider her child’s name on a toy inspired her embroider intricate artwork onto the medium. The Ever After series includes depictions of a queen wearing a doily crown. The Times describes the collection as “invigoratingly new,” creating an overlap between the sinister and the whimsical.