Thursday, May 31, 2012

True Self: Ballerina Barbie and me

I never really wanted a Barbie a doll until I was around 5 years old and saw the one on TV.

I remember watching the ad; there was a stage with deep-red velvet curtains. A spotlight beamed and in twirled the Ballerina Barbie. She had a tutu and pink ballet shoes that laced up. I was mesmerised.

I wasn't sure I was supposed to believe in Santa but that year my parents seemed to really want me to. So when they asked me to find what Santa had brought me that year, I ran to the fireplace and-oops look - Santa had dropped a present there! When I tore the package open- well it really was Christmas ;)

I remember going to school and for the first time noticing that my hair wasn't like that of the other kids. I got home and looked at Ballerina Barbie and noticed that she had their hair. It was so long, yes she had plenty; surely we could share! So I pulled out scissors from my pencil case and carefully cut her long blonde hair. I put the chunks onto sticky tape which I then stuck over my own black bob and went to check myself out in the mirror.

I was so surprised. I was so disappointed; I didn't look like them. I looked like me but silly. Ridiculous. I looked at Ballerina Barbie with her new bob; she didn't look as good as she did before either. Most people would realise that they needed a better hairdresser but there was something about that moment. It made me realise that I wasn't ever going to be like anyone else, that it was better for everyone if I was just me.

Mum asked me why I'd cut Barbie's hair; I told her it was because I thought that she'd want to have a bob hairstyle like me. Mum's kept all of my toys and I remember coming across Ballerina Barbie when we were moving house; gosh how I felt a pang of shame when I saw her.

Tonight. I bought a piece of artwork. It's for a good cause and was priced ridiculously well but brought these old memories up to the surface.

A collaboration between artist David Bromley and photographer Christian Blanchard to help raise funds for Fitted For Work... I remember the impression it made on me when I first saw Bromley's portraits of Asian girls. Sure they were topless but it was the first time that I'd seen a contemporary artist portraying Asian girls in a sensual, alluring way like the blonde ones...

Me with photographer Christian Blanchard and his collaborative piece with David Bromley
I have no idea where I'm going to put this piece when I finally take hold of it.

It is going to be on display for a bit - so I've time to think.

In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out this piece and 51 others in this really great exhibition titled True Self produced by The Jacky Winter Group and on display on level 1 of Melbourne's GPO until June 24.

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