Last month, December 12th was the opening of the 35th Annual Black Doll Show at the William Grant Still Arts Center. The annual tradition, started in 1980 at the West Adams community center, was inspired by the “Black Doll Test” in the 1940s, which showed many African-American children preferring to play with white dolls over black dolls. The center’s website says “positive self image is just as necessary for Africans and all people of color within the continent and in diaspora” and the annual show is just as relevant and important as ever, pointing to a doll test that had the same results in 2005, as documented by then 16yo student filmmaker Kiri Davis in her film A Girl Like Me.
Each year’s show has incorporated a different theme, and this year’s show is entitled Trench Art Retrospective: The War Against HIV/AIDS. Women of the African Diaspora in the Trenches. The theme is the brainchild of this year’s curator, Cynthia Davis, MPH, DHL, who has been working in public health for over 35 years, specifically with health education, outreach and advocacy for HIV/AIDS patients in at risk and medically underserved communities in Los Angeles County. Continue Reading →