maria cristina didero curates armory show design satellite project with arab dolls maria cristina didero curates armory show design satellite project with arab dolls
mar 10, 2015

maria cristina didero curates armory show design satellite project with arab dolls

maria cristina didero curates the armory show design satellite project with arab dolls
all images courtesy of carwan gallery

 

 

 

carlo massoud‘s ‘arab dolls’ installation was born out of an early childhood friendship he had with four schoolmates, while growing up in lebanon. these girls were muslim, but neither of them wore a veil. with this memory, the lebanese designer created maya, zeina, racha and yara, which evolved into a limited edition collection of sixty hollow wooden dolls, rising from the ground in fifteen symmetrical rows that challenge our traditional understanding of the female garment.

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
‘arab dolls’ is comprised of 60 hollow wooden dolls

 

 

 

upon first approach, the ‘arab dolls’ appear as sleek sculptures in a sea of familiar black. however, a smaller series of white dolls interspersed among them are coated with gold leaf from within, disrupting the uniformity that is often associated with the veil. in its purest form, the head covering is meant to represent modesty, and has long been misconstrued and used to misrepresent muslim and arab women. particularly in western media, the veil has come to symbolize or justify assumptions about gender roles in the region.

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
the ‘arab dolls’ stand to challenge our notions of the veil

 

 

 

each of massoud’s figures adapt the concept of covering and concealing to a new function, material and scale. from within, the ‘arab dolls’ express a sense of discretion and mystery, while still asserting individuality in their regimented presentation. collectively, the dolls, like arab women stand bold and beautiful, strong and soft, expressing the emotions associated with a bullet or a thimble. carlo massoud’s ‘arab dolls’ highlight the narrow and limiting ways in which we choose to understand and discuss the veil, and what it suggests about muslim or arab women in general. the installation makes a statement about how we understand the function of objects in the arab world and their role in sparking debate, while paying tribute to the beauty that lies beneath the surface and challenging preconceived notions of gender roles within arab society.

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
among the sleek black sea of dolls are several smaller white figures

 

 

 

‘arab dolls’ was presented at the armory show satellite design exhibition whose focus this year was the middle east. curated by maria cristina didero, the show was made possible by the non-profit organization house of today, an international platform for lebanese design talent. maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom

 

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
the dolls evoke emotions associated with a bullet or a thimble

 

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
the ‘arab dolls’

 

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
maya, zeina, racha and yara

 

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom

 

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
the ‘arab dolls’ on show at the armory show satellite design exhibition curated by maria cristina didero

 

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
didero selected carlo massoud’s ‘arab dolls’ to respond to the show’s theme — the middle east

 

maria cristina didero carwan gallery the armory show designboom
detail of the ‘arab dolls’

 

maria cristina didero curates armory show design satellite project with arab dolls_designboom_0001
second edition of ‘arab dolls’ now rendered in pure brass and gold

 

 

 

UPDATE: after the great success of the first ‘arab dolls’ series at the armory show in new york, carwan gallery presents a new edition in pure brass and gold. the series is on show at the skoufa gallery in mykonos, greece until august 20th, 2015.

maria cristina didero curates armory show design satellite project with arab dolls_designboom_0002
the brass and gold ‘arab dolls’ are on show at skoufa gallery in mykonos until august 20th, 2015

 

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