During summer 2022, I painted this paper doll series and exhibited the work for the State of Practice MFA exhibition. My research turned to Josephine Baker, a complex historical figure who performed fractured identities. As she became an international glamazon in 1920s Paris, she constantly negotiated empowerment and fetishization by leaning into racist stereotypes via exaggerated costume and performance. This series of acrylic painted paper cutouts plays on my prior paper doll series (Mary Pickford & Anita Bryant) while tackling a more complicated figure that resonates with queer Black history.

The series was installed on one long wall in the Michael O’brien Exhibition Commons on Emily Carr’s campus.
Closeup of Josephine in her iconic banana skirt.
Closeup of beauty products sold by Josephine or from the 1920s-30s. Lucky Brown was a prominent Black beauty brand from this time period in the United States. Josephine’s products were only sold to the French public and included bronzer oil and hair gel.
Dolls of Mary Pickford and Josephine Baker. Both figures had several dolls designed and sold in their likenesses, and can often be found now on memorabilia auction websites.

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