For a milestone anniversary year, the 35th Annual Black Doll Show at The William Grant Still Arts Center welcomed guest curator and avid doll collector Dr. Cynthia Davis, MPH with a reception on Saturday, December 12. Davis has dedicated her 35-year career in public health to working as an advocate and educator to individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS. She also currently serves as Chair of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s (AHF) Board of Directors.
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.
“I started the Dolls of Hope Project as a World AIDS Day activity in 1998,” said Davis. “This project involves volunteers making handmade cloth dolls for HIV/AIDS orphans and/or children, youth and women impacted by HIV/AIDS or in need. I have conducted Dolls of Hope workshops around the world including Durban, South Africa, Bangkok, Thailand, Havana, Cuba and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over 6,000 Dolls of Hope have been distributed nationally and globally to children and youth in need. These workshops have been used not only to make the dolls, but to educate women and youth about their risk for HIV infection and to break the silence and stigma” surrounding HIV/AIDS in affected communities—especially racial/ethnic minority communities.”
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.
“We’re so excited to see the collection that Dr. Davis has put together,” said Christopher Johnson, chairman of the AHF Black AIDS Crisis Taskforce (ABACT). “Having a chance to see the intricacies of these handmade dolls in person—and knowing the inspiring backstory of this collection—will be an experience I know people will be talking about for some time.”
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.
For more information, please call (323)734-1165 or visit https://wgsac.wordpress.com/. The William Grant Still Arts Center is located at 2520 West View Street in Los Angeles, California 90016.