Image courtesy of the Artist

Big Gurl

January 1, 2014 - February 28, 2014

Fleckenstein Video Gallery

American, 2006, by Lauren Kelley, 27:40 min.

Part of the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection, Big Gurl by Lauren Kelley is a stop-action animated depiction of issues surrounding femininity and race. Kelley's film uses Barbie dolls with varying skin tones—sans the blonde-haired blue-eyed archetype—and embellishes a cast of African American dolls with add-on lips, noses, hips, and thighs, all fashioned in clay.

"doll testing" of the 1940s, where the psychological effects of blonde dolls on African American children were recorded, Kelley has created her own poignant, oftentimes humorous, but realistic world for her dolls. The animation has elaborate scenes and narratives set in several settings, including a health clinic, an office, a fast food restaurant, and the characters' homes.