The William Grant Still Arts Center Presents
38th Annual Black Doll Show
Double Dutch: A Celebration of Black Girlhood
December 8, 2018-February 16, 2019
Opening Reception: December 8, 3:00-6:00pm
Opening Concert by : Marcus Miller Ensemble
Curated by Myshell Tabu
For it’s 38th Annual Black Doll Show, The William Grant Still Art Center’s, “Double Dutch: A Celebration of Black Girlhood” chosen by the curator, Myshell Tabu, seeks to showcase the many nuances of Black Girlhood, including play, activism, education, the Black experience, and hair. On a deeper level, the show intends to affirm Black women and girls through illustrating the depth, diversity, and dynamism of Black girlhood. Black girls are as innocent as they are strong and as creative as they are challenged.
As a creator and collector, Myshell Tabu has always been enthralled specifically with handmade dolls. As an educator, her pedagogy incorporates dolls for role-play with students to teach both language and self-expression. Her two daughters, Mma-Syrai and Ella, are conceptual contributors to the exhibition. Mma-Syrai and Ella have upwards of twenty dolls and are currently learning to make dolls from socks.
The exhibition will feature immersive installations with hopscotch, murals featuring larger than life ashy knees, beaded individual braids, and dolls engaging in hair-care, double-dutch, and more. The installations invoke multi-generational feelings of nostalgia and cheer.
Galleries will feature doll and quilt art by Pat Shivers, Kimberly Sigman, Adah Glenn, Sharon A. Pittman, Shamanicka Diouf, Joyce Daniels, Gloria Grandy, Sandra Rogers, Juanita Edwards, Deborah E. Scott, Angela Briggs, Laronda Carson, Susie Smith, Kenya Finnell, Debra Pounds, Tonya Byrd, Gwen Foster, Gladys Wilburn, Myshell Tabu, Allyson D. Allen, Ingrid Elburg and collectors Mary Kimbrough, Carmeletta Mobley, Ami Motevalli, Ella Simone Tabu, Mma-Syrai Alek, Barbara Radford The range of emotions of Black women are explored through dolls and wall art in an effort to deconstruct the “strong Black woman” stereotype. Black girls are portrayed with various body types, skin tones, abilities and preferred gender or non-gender expression.
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. Inspired by the “Black Doll Test” conducted in the 1940s by pioneering psychologists Mamie and Kenneth Clark that 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. Collectors and doll artists return time and time again to offer dolls from their collections that fit with the year’s theme. At its root, it is a time for community to come together to celebrate the collections and contributions each individual has made to doll making and collecting over the years.
About the Guest Curator: Myshell Tabu, is a mom, dance educator, designer and blogger. Mma-Syrai and Ella Simone are daughters, sisters and students. All three are actresses, activists, and Mid-City Los Angeles natives, who enjoy making and collecting dolls.
Doll Workshop Dates
December 22, 2018 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
January 12, 2019 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
February 9, 2019 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM