Barbitars Artist Statement

I started taking photographs looking at juxtaposition & Irony when I took a photo of a plastic batman figure sitting up against a book Jesus The Man (by Barbara Theiring, feminist theologian).

I thought “how appropriate superheroes, Spiderman, Batman and Superman all have a common thread with Jesus (Mohammed, Budda etc.) all unmarried do-gooders”!

In 2010 I was thinking about and researching overpopulation and I needed a medium to express this. I decided to use dolls and bought up (and was given) numerous Barbie and Barbie-like dolls.

I undressed them, cropped their hair and sprayed them blue. I was changing, transforming the medium. I was changing the concept of ‘Barbie’ dolls from being sexualised adult dolls for children (with deformed shapes; too narrow waists, too long skinny legs and large breasts). I decided that I was rehabilitating them from these unnatural sexualised dolls to dolls that had to cope with a new life with their disabilities but that they also represented independent and political women. 

They were my avatar. I called them Barbitars. But just at this time a film was released with blue people in it called Avitar. I realised I would have to change their colour. Blue was a good colour I had thought, not white (pink), brown or black people but a neutral colour. So I sprayed them purple but this did not photograph well, not enough contrast. I also tried green but they all looked sick. I discovered in a hardware shop a fluoro-pink flat spray used by road workers, landscapers etc. it worked well and even cracked like skin.

I am in a painting group and we go out weekly. I started taking my box of Barbitars with me. Often by chance I found a convenient, optimal spot for the dolls and toys to photograph.

I also started to pose them in my studio with my paintings and other props. This has developed over the last couple of years into a new art practice.



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