In the Blog

barbie art

September 23rd, 2006     by Thea Lim     Comments

I stumbled across the website of artist Deborah Colotti (thanks to our new blog buddy Sharon Lamb at and I was pretty fascinated by her Barbie-based art collection called The Barbs. Colotti melts, mutilates and glues Barbie dolls into new, unusally ghoulish configurations - but it’s not just for a good time.

As Colotti explains in a statement about the Barbs, (and I would highly recommend you read this before viewing the Barbs, if like me, you are dense when it comes to art) “[Barbie’s] life has always been stiffly perfect. Mine has not. None of my friends’ lives have been either. How could we possibly identify with something so elusive and uniquely bland? Rather than trying to make myself as frozen and superficial as a doll, I decided to make Barbie more like me. And more like the lives I see around me everyday.” Take back the Barbies!

Mutilating Barbie was one of my favourite past-times when I was 12. My mother never let me play with Barbies when I was little, for fear that I would grow up thinking that only blonde, blue-eyed white ladies with anatomically impossible proportions and missing vulvas were beautiful. But I finally inherited a collection from an older cousin when I was past the impressionable ages, only to find that after all those years of lusting after Mattel commercials, it was really far more entertaining to colour Barbie’s face purple and give her punk-rock haircuts before asymmetry was cool.

Hmm, maybe me colouring Barbie’s face purple was an unconscious though radical attempt to make her more like myself, as a woman of colour…

Tags: arts, body politics

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