Sunday, March 23, 2008

Convention Spotlight: Arabella Grayson

One year ago I attended a reception honoring Arabella Grayson for her exhibit, "200 Years of Black Paper Dolls" at the Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C. The event was sponsored by her alma mater, Mills College, and was held at the museum. On display was only a small portion of her larger collection, but it was sufficient for her narrative about racial stereotypes in children's playthings, and the slow progress toward more respectful images. Everything from Topsey (1863) to Diahann Carroll as "Julia" (1971) was on display, as well as the work of contemporary artists such as Donald Hendricks, Tom Tierney and Bruce Patrick Jones. It was an inspiring and thought-provoking exhibit.

I've written about Arabella's work for Paper Doll Review, and I'm pleased that she will be presenting a Powerpoint presentation at our convention that draws on her extensive collection and study of black paper dolls. (And she is currently writing a book on the topic, too.)

200 Years of Black Paper Dolls--with Arabella Grayson. Free. Limit: 25.

(By the way, the next issue of Deanna William's magazine, "Cornerstones," will focus on black paper dolls.)

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