Pocahontas, 2009

From the series “Fallen Princesses”, (2007 – 2009)

The series consists of 10 photographs depicting Disney Princesses and other Fairy Tale characters placed within a modern environment. The work examines elements of the human condition and creates metaphor out of the myths of fairy tales, forcing the viewer to contemplate real life: failed dreams, the fallacy of chasing eternal youth, obesity, Cancer, the extinction of indigenous cultures, pollution, ocean degradation and war. By embracing the textures and colors created by Walt Disney, which built a multi-billion-dollar empire exploiting these fairy tales, the work questions the notion of the idealistic ‘Happily Ever After’ motif, composed by Disney, and spoon fed to children throughout the world.

Born about 1596, her real name was Amonute. Pocahontas was her nickname, which means “playful one” or “ill-behaved child.” Pocahontas was the daughter of the Great Powhatan, who ruled over numerous tribes in the region the Powhatan. The most known narrative has endured for centuries and tells the tale of a young girl who turned her back on her own people and allied with the English Colonizers in order to save the life of Captain John Smith. The story that Pocahontas was head over heels in love with John Smith has lasted for many generations however historical records dispute this claim. Pocahontas was kidnaped and taken on board an English ship where she was held for ransom. There she suffered a mental breakdown after being raped while in captivity. Shortly after that she was wed to an English man named John Rolfe. It is believed that she went through with the marriage and conversion because she had little choice. After her death at sea in 1627 Pocahontas’ image was used primarily for marketing campaigns during the 19th century. One of the biggest industries to do so was for tobacco products. These campaigns further distorted the story of who Pocahontas actually was. In Disney movie’s release in 1995, the story is set against the backdrop of early U.S. history and the colonization of the New World. The real Pocahontas was twelve to thirteen years old during the period the Disney movie covers, yet she’s depicted as eighteen or nineteen. The historic elements were greatly changed because the filmmakers deemed the true tale too violent and complicated. Thus reinventing Pocahontas as an animated adult princess within a storyline misrepresenting her actual life. Goldstein places Pocahontas within a tableaux set in a quintessential wooden cabin in the forest somewhere, in a room stuffed with artifacts of natural life. She sits alone and dispirited in a dark room, lit only by the moon and the blue light eliminating from the TV screen. She is surrounded by several domestic cats of multiple breeds and one dog. What happened to that girl that loved roaming freely in nature? Her life and Native American ways appear to be have been tamed and domesticated. On the end table sits a portrait of a colonial man, Scientist Issac Newton. Intentionally placed in the room to represent a love interest, but in actuality to juxtapose the life of an indigenous person with English colonialism. The expropriation of land and identity changed the course of Native Americans and Pocahontas, and eventually led to her death at a young age.

With this series Dina Goldstein achieved her international breakthrough in the art market. The series brought Goldstein numerous TV appearances and contributions and made her famous in a short time.

Watch here a few examples:
Fanny Kiefer Show
German TV
Spain Mega TV
CBS ART Canada

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