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"I remember stories told to me in childhood, and I find joy and comfort in the rediscovery of these storytelling experiences. ‘The Storyteller’ is meant to evoke this feeling of rediscovery in my audience, leading to the exclamation ‘I remember this story!’ and a discussion of the audience’s memories of the tale among themselves. I work exclusively with paper and light to create an experience of visual storytelling parallel to reading, where the paper becomes the story itself. I invite the audience to become a part of my work and to experience the story on their own skin.”

A storytelling experience is never a lonely one, as there is always a teller of the tale and a listener. The authentic tale evolves and grows in its infinite passing from one person to another. Throughout history, this oral tradition of storytelling has brought people together and has created shared experiences, fulfilling our strong desire for human connection. In our current societies, many of us feel isolated and are fearfully longing for comfort and connection. Storytelling offers us this connection and allows us to take solace in distracting one another with familiar tales.

Photos: Annie van der Werff

Layla May Arthur (1999, JE) studies Fine Art at Minerva Art Academy, Groningen. Her passion for storytelling and narratives and her love for books led to a practice with paper. The use of a blade releases imagery from the paper and Layla’s illustrative style centres on a balance between which parts of the paper to cut away and which pieces to leave. She always invites her audience to become a part of her work when they step into the shadows of her installations. Layla’s projects have been exhibited in the Switzerland Paper triennial 2020, the Denmark Museum for Papir Kunst and her work will embark on an American tour at the end of 2021. This piece is the start of her final graduation work which she will complete at the end of 2021.