I have a feeling that I held on to my childhood dolls longer than most young girls. I think I may have been almost thirteen before I finally stopped playing with them, although my favorites still held a place of honor in my room while I was young. Those were the symbols of childhood that I couldn’t bear to part with. I never wanted to forget the countless hours of play and joy those plastic babies had brought me. In her Doll series, Canadian artist Fausta Facciponte, confronts us with imagery of the forgotten dolls of our childhood, reminding us of the innocence we’ve left behind.
When we’re young, many of our toys teach and shape who we may eventually become. Dolls seem especially important to teach children how to care and nurture. How many times have you “personified” a doll so that a child will know to be gentle with a baby? I can vividly recall a niece swinging a doll by her hair..
We dress and undress them, feed them plastic food, bathe them, swaddle and cuddle them. But as we mature, we reach a point where we realize that it is all pretend. That caring for a real baby is much more work, much more complicated. As we transition from childhood, perhaps we realize that the doll play mimics a much more scary reality.
So we put away the childish toys, discarding them as infantile. But maybe what we are really putting out of our prepubescent minds is the inevitable reality of growing up and being faced with the actuality of the world we were playing and preparing for.
To see more of Fausta Facciponte’s work, please visit her website. Are there any childhood toys that were touchtones for your transition from childhood to the adult world?
Featured image is Peter by Fausta Facciponte, archival pigment print. Images are via Stephen Bulger Gallery.