Tasmanian artist Sonia Singh’s Tree Change Dolls are recycled and repaired dolls that are given a makeunder and more down-to-earth style. Singh removes the dolls’ original factory painted features, and repaints the faces so that the dolls look more natural, younger, and down-to-earth, as opposed to the typical style of highly made-up and glamorous dolls like Bratz dolls. Singh’s mother also creates and knits new outfits for the dolls. In January 2015, what started as a home project transformed into an Internet sensation once she posted before and after photos of her dolls online, garnering attention from media and people around the world who supported her efforts to recycle and makeunder the dolls, and wanted to know where and how they could purchase them.
Why does it matter what dolls look like, including whether their faces are painted with makeup and what kinds of clothes they wear?
Take a look at some of the before and after photos of the dolls. What is most striking to you about the changes? Why do you think so many people were interested in this project?
Many of the photos of the dolls that the artist posts are situated in the garden or other outside spaces. What does this say about the natural and down-to-earth style that is being communicated? Is being glamorous and wearing makeup bad? When should kids, if at all, start doing that?
Who plays with dolls? Does this answer differ depending on your gender? If yes, how do you know this? What messages are sent in toy stores, advertisements, and interactions with your family and friends about who does and does not play with dolls?