carmen Garaghon

Dolls are at the centre of my practice and my work explores their multiple and complex significance as symbols, often intertwined with spirituality, ritual, communal and personal identities. Having appeared alongside us in every culture throughout our history, and being found in every museum, dolls can be a way of expressing a culture’s beliefs and values. My work explores the notion of a ‘doll’, questioning its function as more than a toy, and queries whether ‘play’ can exist outside of the child’s domain.  I am interested in the capacity of play to allow us to cope with past and future situations and to step out the ordinary existence and into the extraordinary. By creating changes in play, it can be possible to create changes which become tangible in the real world. Through my work I explore the blending and blurring between play and ritual.

If we accept these ideas, then dolls can be viewed as vessels which transmit meaning. They are pieces of material culture and my practise uses art as a visual form of enquiry, asking questions which relate to human behaviour, social, cultural or political issues. These may be personal or connected to my place in the world and relationships and events around me.

The dolls originated as a form of sculptural re-working of scavenging, borne out of late night solitude and sewing as a remedy. Hidden away from public view a series of little freaks were created, which have become an obsessive autobiographical project. Each doll is created using materials around the home or gathered in nature, found or stolen.

The dolls hold intimate memories and my work has grown to become a kind of creative storehouse of objects that refer to personal memories or evoke events. They often reference the home; that intimate, private domestic space. The use of domestic materials, objects and traditional textile practices explore the idea of the 'feminine', whilst the creative process and assemblage have become a vehicle for artistic therapy and expression, helping to speak words hard to say, recover hope and smile.

So now a tension and contradiction emerges from the public display of such private concerns ...