Undergraduate student, year of graduation 2017. Major: Illustration. Class: Myth and Metaphor. Faculty: Robert Brinkerhoff.
Materials + Techniques
Paper, watercolor, ink
Just as the work "chimera" implies a combination of disparate parts, it has also come to symbolize many different things, often with conflicting meanings. This book reflects the multifaceted nature of chimera myths, and examines the range of symbolism: from the benevolent protector of Chinese tradition, to the deadly monster of Greek mythology, to the complex relationships brought forth by the discovery of genetic chimeras. Genetic chimerism in particular raises a whole slew of ethical questions. It can and has led to cases where parentage comes into question because the DNA of the parent does not match that of the child. The creation of chimeras in the laboratory, especially when human cells are involved, adds yet another layer to an already highly debated topic. This book contains three different aspects of a chimera: the fierce guardian, the monster, and the ambiguities brought on by genetic chimerism. Each part will fold out to reveal its own story, then come back in the center to create a unified being, but one still made of distinctly separate parts. The modular and flexible construction of the book recalls the pieced-together of the chimera. Different folds and orientations can create new connections and break prior ones. I hope to tease out many of the meanings embodied in one creature, which I see as a result of its multifarious nature, as well as metaphorically appropriate for a composite being.