Houston Museum of African American Culture held an installation opening on Friday, January 30th and I was delighted to attend. I am also a member of their young professional group, Culture Cabal, and enjoyed a small VIP reception and a chance to meet the artist. I did not have a chance to research the installation much and was pleasantly surprised how much I loved it.
The artist, Tara Conley, was very humble and talked about how she came up with the concept for the work. Over years, she kept a journal of phrases that came to mind. After about 450 phrases, she and her friend separately came up with their favorite phrase: My life as a doll. That is where the theme for the exhibit was created.
My life as a doll explores frameworks of thoughts placed on women based on gender role definitions. It was the cutest doll house I have ever seen. I felt very comfortable yet was able to look deeper at the phrases and think about what they meant to me. Each room at the house had a different theme. I was very impressed that Tara dyed ever textile in the installation by hand (washing machine). I walked away delighted and perplexed and left to think about how I personally feed into some of the stereotypes women take on to be the “perfect doll.”