Annual Black Doll Exhibition

In a town with few long-term traditions, here was one of the most quaint and provocative, the Annual Black Doll Exhibition celebrating its 29th anniversary at the William Grant Still Arts Center (show closed February 27th). As the title “I’ve Got a Story to Tell” implies, this show of over 800 dolls traces the complex history of African-Americans and is not simply for girls or women. It reads more like a sociological study than a toy display.  For instance, the 150-year old patchwork doll pieced from scraps with a featureless face is a grim reminder of anonymous slaves.  So too is the tradition of two-sided topsy-turvy dolls where the black doll (illegal for slaves to own) was hid under the skirt of the white doll.  Displayed also are several pickaninny and Aunt Jemima dolls. Contributing for years to racist stereotypes, these toys were finally replaced in the 1960s by such dolls as the Shindana brand -- manufactured in South Central L.A. after the Watts Riot and featuring Afro physical traits.  And then there’s Urkle.
My favorite dolls in the exhibition are Diana Ross as Billie Holiday handcuffed to Billy Dee Williams, released in connection with the film “Lady Sings the Blues.”   Curator Amy Motevalli, Director of Education,  explains that Marla Gibbs occasionally visits ‘her’ doll created in the likeness of housekeeper Florence from “The Jeffersons.”  A larger presentation than other doll museums offer, this spectacular exhibition includes different loans every year.  The Center is located at 2560 S. Westview, off Adams between La Brea and Crenshaw.  Galleries are open Tues-Sat 12-5 pm. Phone (323) 734-1165 for information about other shows.

Share

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Categories

Today65
Yesterday412
Week1783
Month10610
All503487

Currently are 41 guests and no members online


Kubik-Rubik Joomla! Extensions

About Us

Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

Contact Us

Author
Dianne V. Lawrence
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.