Randall Harris, owner of Williamsburg's Figureworks Gallery, is currently hosting an exhibit that's very personal to him, called "My Sister's Doll." The story behind it starts fifty years ago, when Harris was 5 and his sister, Jane, was 10. Their father had given Jane a beautiful doll in a special edition box for Christmas, but a few moments later the doll was re-gifted to their less-privileged cousins when they came over to visit. Jane was heartbroken.
Harris explains, "My mother was furious and my sister was heartbroken. Christmas didn't end well that year. I felt so badly for my sister that I went upstairs and made a doll from an old toilet paper roll to give her as a replacement."
That first doll began a new family tradition of Harris giving his sister a new doll every year for Christmas, and now for the 50th anniversary of that first one, he invited 50 artists to create 50 new dolls for his sister's already expansive and eclectic collection—"I expected people to say 'no, I'm not going to do that', but they all said yes," Harris said.
The results range from cute to complex—one's even made in Jane's image and talks. Jane's favorite, however, is Clarissa Crabtree's stitched green and purple doll named Ariel—"She said it went with the rest of her girls.".
The exhibit opened on November 14th and will run until December 21st—click through for a preview.