Showcasing and bringing together three international examples of doll-making from three indigenous groups. The artists all use doll making to highlight cultural practices that support healing through storytelling, and the sharing of oral personal narratives, which promote the transmission of cultural teachings.
Encountering the Gomeroi gaaynggal program colourful Yarning dolls (Australia); the Six Nations Haudenosaunee People, and their faceless cornhusk dolls (Canada); and the Siyazama Project (South Africa) with their beautiful beaded dolls, that support locally relevant HIV/AIDS education, is an unusual, and unique visual experience.
The ‘Re-Stitching Culture’ collection of dolls, which collectively shows how the local indigenous communities, from each nation, are strengthened through reciprocol, creative and healing processes. This, in turn, supports capacity building for problem solving, and the reclaiming of indigenous knowledge, history and identity.
Communal craft and art making has traditionally been a visually powerful medium for expressing cultural identities. In the pre-colonial past, plant and animal materials were gathered, and crafted in combination with story telling, singing and dancing. These actions helped to maintain social relations, perpetuate ideals, and support cultural behaviors that were considered beneficial in upholding communal well being.
Doll making is an example of a communal visual art form that plays a role in supporting healthy indigenous communities. This communal gathering of individuals to learn new artistic skills and to revitalize the stories, memories and identities are exemplified by the making of their individual dolls, which are all now presented in exhibition form to further the cause and inform the public.
- Kate Wells and Kym Rae