Thursday, September 13, 2007

African-American Dolls at Ponder Gallery


Tyrone Geter is a wonderful artist, a friend, and the one of the curators of Ponder Gallery at Benedict College, the fourth large HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and Universities) in the United States. The campus is very small, very private, and only about a mile from my house...but I'd never been there until last night. I received an email from Tyrone about the opening of A Reflection and Interpretation of Our Culture: African-American Doll Collection of Cassandra Williams-Rush I knew I had to go. I'm so glad I did. I had no idea what to expect, having never been to a doll show of any kind. Yet, I've seen so many great images of dolls and doll-like figures on-line, that I compelled to see some in person.




There were many handmade, one-of-a-kind dolls. They were utterly beautiful, well crafted, and I was in awe. What I didn't expect were so many mass produced dolls...not that this was a problem. They were interesting too. I had no idea how many African American Barbies there are or that Madame Alexander has issued dozens too. The ones in these pictures were designed by Bob Mackie...yes, Cher's and Carol Burnett's fashion designer!

My favorites were the two created by Adrienne Anne McDonald. They were from what appeared to be a series called "Urban Faeries". The tag read, "Inspired by the decadent, whimsical, downtown New Yorkers, Urban Faeries are created from found objects and discarded clothing. One often thinks of faeries in the woods but they dance among the city streets." I especially liked the light bulb for a head...a very bright idea!

6 comments:

katelnorth said...

Sounds like a great exhibit. I love the photos you've posted.

Karoda said...

I purchased a Barbie simply because I was going past the case and she had an afro...I couldn't believe it! A Barb with short hair! She is the South African Barbie and I just had to have proof.

This exhibit looks salivatingly good :)

Micki said...

These are great, thanks for sharing with us.

SeamRippstress said...

Wow, what a great exhibit! Love the lightbulb head!

Nikki said...

The lightbulb is my favorite also. She has a sweet innocence, like a child's rag doll.

Anonymous said...

Susan, it was great meeting you the night of the reception at the Ponder Fine Art Gallery. I am the collector, Cassandra Williams Rush. Your excitement of and appreciation for the exhibit was very much appreciated. There were 25 original and one-of-a-kinds by A-A doll artists. In addition to the ones mentioned here, there were some artists' limited edition, fine quality and German made dolls. An annual exhibit of dolls is now planned for the gallery; they may later include dolls from other collectors in the Greater Columbia area. (I feel that their dolls can not exceed these.) Thanks for the very positive blog!