Snow White Playing with her Father's Trophies
1995, Pastel on paper, mounted on aluminium
170 x 150 cm
Drawing from her own childhood memories, Paula Rego’s work illustrates corrupted folklore, where fairytale and horror converge to portray feminine experience. Recalling childhood visits to the movies with her father, Rego’s Snow White series appropriates the Disney story with unnerving fictional and autobiographical twists. In Snow White Playing With Her Father’s Trophies, Rego uses the allegory of female vanity to underlie a familial politic. The heroine, pictured in a white dress symbolising virginity and innocence, seems wryly aware of her own sexuality. Sat unladylike with legs spread, she prizes the head of a young buck between her knees, representing sexual awakening and insinuating improper affection towards her father. In the background, her stepmother kneels as aging witch, looking on with scorn and envy.