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Doll-briety

This is the text I wrote for the BE A DOLL exhibition's catalog. I feel it is a bit more formal than the texts I usually write, but it makes sense; first, I felt I had to tone it down a bit because it is a catalog and not my personal blog. And second, I was going through many emotional turmoils as a result of putting the exhibition together (it feels like picking in an open wound at times), and I wasn't able to write as I'm used to - I needed more time to digest it all.

Maybe you'll be able to read between the lines, despite my formality.

And here it goes;



In September 2020, I held the first doll-parts exhibition, after two and a half years of continuous work. The drawings in it presented my ongoing journey of observing and shedding; The more I looked, the more I saw how immeasurable the aspects of my identity are that do not align with my heart. Those are the layers I see, give room to be, and let go of.


I believe it starts earlier than we can remember; we obey rules that go much further than the ones aimed to create a nicely functioning society, I mean. We have so much to align with instead of being present and attentive to our (-soft compassionate-) selves: Gender rules, financial success, acceptable external appearances, and more. Sometimes we choose to kick out the rules, or so we think, but that too, might take us far from our center and into misalignment.


Switching to first-person now; I, personally, was expected to be polite when I truly enjoyed burping out loud or to dress up when wishing to wear loose clothes. Everything around me suggested that being pretty and attractive will take me higher in the food chain than any other quality I might have.

And maybe the most devastating one for me as a woman was the impression I got that sex is a tool that makes me powerful. It all went to hell when I was raped, but I kept on holding on tightly to that fake power for many years after.


It’s not easy to look and not close our eyes when we see the truth, when we hear the heart calling behind the walls.


Summer 2018 - couldn't even imagine how many layers I still have on me (now I know the journey is probably endless). Pic by Hadar Dolan.



When we are older, we’re sometimes too blind to see the game because we’ve got too far in it, and become habituated to external validation of our worth. And that external validation keeps us distracted from the pain we have inside.


We end up tied to a persona, an identity, sometimes submissive, sometimes rebellious. I indeed was, and still am, in some areas.


Those identity ties keep on pulling us back to those habitual patterns. We are dolls been played with, instead of playing. We become the game for we are too afraid to lose what we know, what we think we are, what seems to work for us.


It seems that noticing those intersections between the ‘pleasing-doll’ and the imprisoned heart is the best chance for change; by developing a compassionate awareness that first sees, then accepts, and potentially releases its grip at the end. The doll parts might not go away, but they might not be as loud. Those intersections are represented in the drawings by part-doll part-hu(w)man figures.


I keep on drawing part-doll part-human figures to this day as a constant reminder of that potential misalignment and the journey inward. There are always more layers to be revealed and shed. Most of the time, only after seeing one, another one (maybe more subtle) will reveal itself.


At this moment in time, that is what the drawings mean to me.



Shiran

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© 2018 by Shiran Berkovich.