Black Doll Show / December 2015 / February 2016 / January 2016

35th Annual Black Doll Show – Trench Art Retrospective: The War Against HIV/AIDS Women of the African Diaspora in the Trenches Curated by Dr. Davis

35th Annual Black Doll Show
Trench Art Retrospective: The War Against HIV/AIDS
Women of the African Diaspora in the Trenches
Curated by Dr. Cynthia Davis, MPH
December 12, 2015-February 13, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, December 12, 2:00-5:00pm

WGSAC Doll Show Postcard-color front image

For a milestone anniversary year, the 35th Annual Black Doll Show at The William Grant Still Arts Center will welcome guest curator and avid doll collector Dr. Cynthia Davis, MPH who has dedicated her 35-year career in public health to working as an advocate and educator to individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. This year’s Black Doll Show, Trench Art Retrospective: The War Against HIV/AIDS—Women of the African Diaspora in the Trenches, will display approximately 200 artist dolls, sculptures, a sampling of community-created handmade dolls from Dr. Davis’s Dolls of Hope Project, artist-designed altars, and quilts, including a section of the NAMES Project Foundation’s AIDS Memorial Quilt on loan from Atlanta, Georgia.

Trench Art Retrospective highlights the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic domestically and globally on women of color with a timeline, photographic documentation, and murals of key moments during the past 35 years with the goal of empowering beyond stigma and shame, and breaking the silence around HIV/AIDS. Participating nationally-noted artists and collectors include Floyd Bell, Stormy Weather, Ingrid Humphrey, Gary Jones, Allyson Allen, Cynthia Davis, Bernard Hoyes, Ramsess, Ofelia Esparza, Joey Terrill, Mary Kimbrough, and dolls and altars contributed by clients at residential substance abuse shelters His Sheltering Arms and the Alcoholism Center for Women.

Community partners include ABACT Women’s Sub-Committee, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Alcoholism Center for Women, the Association of Black Women Physicians, Black Women for Wellness, California Black Women’s Health Project, Charles R. Drew University, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Inglewood Alumnae Chapter, and His Sheltering Arms.


Opening Reception:
Saturday, December 12, 2:00-5:00pm
Drumming Procession by S.H.I.N.E.
Puppetry by Gary Jones & The Yuppets (Blackstreet USA Theatre)
Panel Discussion, 3pm (approx) – “Women Living with HIV/AIDS”
Free HIV/AIDS rapid testing by Charles R. Drew University Mobile Testing Program

Doll Making Workshops:         
Dolls of Hope Workshops
Saturday, December 19, 2:00-4:00 pm
Saturday, January 23, 2:00-4:00 pm
Make a doll to give to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS at two Dolls of Hope doll-making workshops led by Dr. Davis on Saturday, December 19 and Saturday, January 23 at 2pm. The Dolls of Hope Project, which was founded by Dr. Davis in 1998 as part of World AIDS Day activities, has distributed over 6,000 handmade cloth dolls to AIDS orphans, women, and youth affected by AIDS throughout the world.

Documentary Screening:         
Wilhemina’s War
Saturday, January 9, 3-5pm
Join for a special preview screening of the documentary Wilhemina’s War, which will air on PBS later in February 2016. Wilhemina’s War focuses on the impact of HIV/AIDS among African American women across generations living in the South through the story of 62 year old Wilhemina Dixon.

About the Curator:
Cynthia Davis, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine and College of Science and Health at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Professor Davis plans, coordinates, and evaluates several HIV/AIDS-related Health Education, Risk Reduction, and mobile HIV screening programs targeting at-risk medically underserved populations residing in Los Angeles County, and was instrumental in the development of the first mobile HIV testing and outreach project initiated in Los Angeles County in 1991. She has been an advocate for increased primary prevention services for women and youth in South Los Angeles, as well as actively engaged in facilitating HIV/AIDS education and risk reduction workshops. Professor Davis has served on the Board of Directors of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest nonprofit AIDS Service Organization in the world, for 27 years, and works proactively to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS among underserved disenfranchised people of color communities on a local, national and international basis.

About the Black Doll Show:
The Black Doll Show at the William Grant Still Arts Center was started in 1980 by the Friends of William Grant Still Arts Center, with artist Cecil Fergerson as its first curator.  The show was inspired by the “Black Doll Test” in the 1940s by pioneering psychologists Mamie and Kenneth Clark which concluded that many African-American children preferred playing with white dolls over black dolls. The Black Doll Show at the Center is the longest-running display of Black Dolls in Los Angeles, and is nationally noted.