The doll as an object is one of the oldest known toys that traces back to the ancient civilisations of Asia, Africa, and Europe. It has an essential place in the crafts. Post-industrialisation, dolls were mass-produced to cater to a widening pool of affluent clients. They played a significant role in building and shaping cultures. During ancient times, votive sculptures had a spiritual value. These sculptures carried immense psychological importance in addition to educative purposes in understanding the local social structures.
The doll as an idea is a complex of imagination. Its value and purpose change with its utility. It is a collectable plaything, a childhood memory, and nostalgia, attached to our fantasies and narratives. As children, it is deemed acceptable to love, marry, hit, or dismantle the body parts of a doll while playing. As adults, the same behaviour becomes reprehensible, almost sinister – an act to be looked down upon.
“My Stitch” (doll) is my attempt to recreate an experience with an object of desire. This project explores abjection as an innate and outward material process, with a rising ambivalence between the subject (person/doll) and object (person/doll). ‘Image Memory Trauma‘ is a series of photographs that narrate the memories and experiences shared with an object of desire. Its subsequent possession, its obsession, and its forceful riddance.
While studying in London, I lived alone and started making this doll that I called “My Stitch”. A stitch is an inception of making amends to the old/existing or creating something new. With a rectangular body stitched to flimsy limbs and a featureless head, I stuffed it with the same pillow I used to sleep on every day. “My Stitch” may look too eerie to others, but it used to sit on my desk, chair, or courier boxes – occupying the same space around me. We talked and interacted; I fought and beat it. It kept my fears and secrets. Shared my bed, tolerated my thoughts, anger, and violence (both physical and emotional) as if it were a real person. This is the subtle rise of ambivalence, where the boundaries of the living and non-living blur. These photographs reveal the ambiguity and vulnerability of the human mind.
Priyanshi is an Indian artist who engages in narratives themed around Abjection. Her work intertwines with the polarity of the material and the subject. It is the ambiguous liminal space of jouissance and horror. Her practice has evolved with the process of making with a range of media such as sketchbooks, textiles, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, photography, and installation. She received her Postgraduate degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts, London (2019). Currently, she is living and working in Surat, India as an independent artist, designer, and art tutor and continuing her research practice. You can find her work here