July 21, 2011 § 16 Comments

Study, 2011, Charcoal and pastel on paper, 50 x 70cm
Study I, 2011, Charcoal on paper, 50 x 70cm
The  work  looks at the lasting affects upon the individual who finds
 themselves absent from the dominant cultural fiction that is tasked to
posit them within ideological framework of society. What effects does this
have upon a child when they glance into the cultural mirror and fail to see
their reflection?


§ 16 Responses to Studies

  • Interesting topic Barbara, I visited the toy museum in London a few years back with a group of students, some really interesting black dolls in the collection !

  • Sophie Thompson says:

    You’re really brilliant at drawing, you inspire me and I love this picture because its of my best friend, Siraya. My name’s sophie

  • Rachel Roberts says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I saw these doing the rounds on Tumblr and I am so very taken with them. I keep coming back to look at them! Not only is your talent incredible, but it raises such an important issue, one which is not raised enough. I really appreciate this work, so pleased to have found you!


    • Dear Rachel

      Many thanks for your comments.I’m very taken by the reaction to the work! ‘studies’ is a beginning of a conversation that i hope to develop further.
      Researching into where i can get my hands on some large (AO) pastel drawing papers! Will keep you up to date on the progress of the series



  • Linda says:

    Very thought provoking drawings.

    When I was little my mum bought me a doll from one of the big department stores in London, she was a dark skinned girl with black hair worn in a little bun at the nape of her neck, wearing a blouse and long skirt. I instantly named her Seela, after the ayah who looked after me when I was tiny. Not knowing, of course, what cultural baggage that would and still does have for me as an adult. I named her that way because I loved the real Seela, missed her, and wished she lived in England with us.

    Your drawings brought that back to me, lots of conflicting thoughts too. Powerful stuff. Looking forward to more on this theme.

    You might find the paper you are looking for at Cornellisons.


    • Hi Linda
      Many thanks for message and your for sharing your story! Also for the link!

      As yet i’m not sure were the work will take me, but please check back on the progress of the work


  • Iscah McKrae says:

    I lack the words to express the way your artwork speaks. But, I suppose that is the point. It speaks for itself…poignantly. I remember as a little girl, coming across a doll in the store, and I was never allowed to ask for things in the store, and I really almost never did, but I asked for this doll, or as I said it at that age, this “baby.” And my mama told me, “But, you have lots of babies at home.” “But, I don’t have any brown babies.” My mother has told me, years later, that even though she was flat broke, and couldn’t have bought the doll for me, that even though I’d asked, which was against the rules, she wanted to get it for me. My skin was, and is, white as can be, but that only made her want even more for me to have this “baby.” She saw a little girl who considered people (for my “babies” were very real to me) all the more precious for their differences, and wanted to nurture that and encourage it. Later on, my Mama made sure to add a “brown baby” to my family of dolls, and for a long time (in little girl time), she was my very favorite.

    All of that is from the perspective of a little white girl. (I’ve since found out that one of my ancestors was very likely a slave who escaped to Canada via the Underground Railroad, but I had no idea of that then.) I can only imagine, and inadequately so, what it would have been like as a little girl for whom the “brown baby” would have been a reflection of herself and her family…what it would have been like *not* to find that reflection.

    Your artwork expresses so powerfully what I cannot convey, and shall never experience, except in glimpses such as you have given us. Bravo!

  • The Igbo Christian Feminist says:

    I saw these gorgeous pieces of art on Tumblr, and finally found your website. I’m so glad I did! These particular two pieces are so symbolic for me–they represent my childhood in more ways than I could write in a comment. Thank you. And I thank God that I grew up to be able to love my skin and my body and my self. These drawings are amazing, and I hope “Studies” does spark a much larger conversation (which still needs to be had). In fact, you’ve inspired my next blog post. 🙂

    • Dear Igbo

      Thanks for your comments and positive feedback. Will be launching my new website soon, but unfortunately will not feature the series, until the project is fully complete!

  • Micha'el says:

    This is AMAZING! I am in love with this piece. The quality of this piece is amazing, but the most fantastic part about this piece to me is the message. I love it! My mother never bought white dolls for me or any other black little girl growing up. She like you understood the effect it can have on a young black girls life, seeing nothing but pretty white girls in our magazines, toys, commercials, etc. Leaving us to feel out of place, inadequate, and ugly. I appreciate the message you are putting out there. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Studies at Barbara Walker.


%d bloggers like this: