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Central Los Angeles : Exhibition of 250 Dolls Reflects African Culture, Spirituality

January 03, 1996

More than 250 dolls representing the African diaspora are on exhibit at the William Grant Still Art Center in the Mid-City region.

The show, called "Adventures in Dollhouse Land," marks the 15th exhibition of its kind at the art center and features an assortment of dolls, from handcrafted ones made from mop heads to baby dolls in African garb to a miniature Malcolm X carved from wood.

"Dolls have been in the whole cultural making of Africans," said Miriam Fergerson, who curated the show. "They're not just toys. They represent a spirituality and reflect the best culture brings."

One of Fergerson's favorite pieces in the show is a diorama-like display of a woman, lavishly dressed and draped over a couch in a sensual pose. "I like to call this one 'Waiting to Exhale,' " she said.

Fergerson and her husband, Cecil, started putting on the doll exhibits in 1981 after they saw a television show where an African American girl was offered a white doll and a black doll, and Fergerson's husband was saddened to see the child choose the white doll.

The show will continue through March at the art center.

Information: (213) 734-1164.

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