Trophy Wife Barbie

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Annelies Hofmeyr is a multidisciplinary artist who creates art using Barbie dolls, which she disassembles and reconstructs into thought-provoking, almost threatening, art. She calls the series Trophy Wife Barbie.

I first found Trophy Wife Barbie through her Instagram account. I have grown to adore the dolls and have watched them develop, mature and address gender and other contemporary issues. It is almost as though Barbie has grown up and developed her own personality.

The purpose of Hofmeyr’s art is to accentuate the restrictions inherent in the labels that surround us and to explore gender issues in the identity of the modern woman. The works themselves invite us to consider how things might be if we focused on what we have in common rather than on the fears that separate us.

Since Barbie is a timeless, iconic figure who elicits a wide range of different emotions, she makes such a dialogue possible.

The artist herself was born in South Africa to a British mother and African father who was a gunsmith. She maneuvers her way through the world through an exploration of gender and identity issues in the belief that her art both disrupts the feeling of security of the viewers and soothes them.

This picture, for example, expresses Hofmeyr’s opinion the fact that mothers are our first role models of how a mother should look.

Hofmeyr describes her personal Barbie:

“A few years ago, I started the Trophy Wife Barbie project as wall art. My first work was a Barbie head topped with deer antlers, like a hunting trophy, on a wood board.

I went on to create a wearable art – brooches – out of Barbie parts and in 2015, I opened Trophy Wife Barbie, Barbie’s personal Instagram account, to explore the issues at various levels. I am mostly interested in the possibility of creating dialogues, both online and offline. I believe that talking about topics we find challenging will enable us to grow and develop, and understand ourselves and those around us better.

I take the iconic Barbie doll and add to or change her to explore issues of gender and the identity of modern women, while emphasizing the restrictive labels that we use every day. The hunting trophy horns, for example, are a physical example of a label that sanctions the hunt for the perfect woman.”

Due to Trophy Wife Barbie’s remarkable success on social networks, Annelies Hofmeyr launched a line of products to continue the conversation in the real world.

It is now possible to buy posters via Trophy Wife Barbie’s Instagram account, website or Facebook page. Later this year, an exhibition will open featuring Barbie sculptures and brooches.

 

 

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

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About Author

Inbar Shahak is a textile designer by profession, graduating from the Shenkar University of Fashion in Israel, where she majored in weaving, knitting & printing. After working in the garment industry for Calvin Klein, the urge to create handmade textiles art drove her to establish her own succesfull brand of textile jewelry. Inbar’s jewelry is inspired by delicate tracery patterns and her greatest passion is combineing ancient textile-making traditions with new modern techniques. Inbar’s collections are all drawn by hand and printed over metal at her atelier in Kibbutz Maagan Michael. She regularly collaborates with fashion designers around the world, making bold and theatrical costume jewelry design made for Runway fashion projects and fashion shoot productions. “Inbar Shahak” Studio has been widely displayed in galleries, elite jewelry shops, and fashion designer shops and in exhibitions around the world, including the Premiere Classe in Paris, the IJL Show in London, The Atelie and the Moda show in NY and the Norton art Museum in Florida.

19 Comments

  1. Javier sarmiento on

    i didn’t know this about barbie dolls, previously i thought barbie dolls were toys to play with. now i know dolls hold a much higher importance .

  2. Someone who explained to me real insight of Barbie, that was great. Any chance I can see more of it? This write up is great, and images were self explanatory.

  3. Trophy Wife Barbie sounds like a very interesting concept and thought provoking as well. I particularly liked the last image that shows how the society depicts an woman based on the length of her hemline without even getting to know her in person!

  4. I have done essays on the exploration of gender construction in 19th century literature and the representation of the fallen woman who transcends motherhood and the ‘angel in the house archetype’ to being labelled as a ‘slut’ or whore for having sex outside of marriage or defying the patriarchal construction of ‘ideal feminine identity’ by not being the ‘mother’ they should be so its interesting to see how ‘Trophy Barbie’ explores these concepts too. Its so cool that she has 261 K followers, especially as she is educating her audience on real life issues like gender identity.

  5. Wow, love the concept! I think it really takes the iconic symbol from every childhood to change it to nowadays where every thing is ‘labelled’ to kind of set it free! Everyone is different with no labels.

  6. This is crazy and amazing and epic! I have so many questions. Mainly what is with the antlers?! But also what am I looking at?! HAHAHaHAHahahaHa

  7. Wow. It’s not only creative; it’s absolutely thought-provoking too. It’s definitely not the barbie dolls I grew playing with!

  8. I juts loved this series of Trophy Wife Barbie creatively imagined by Hofmeyr. We all have loved barbie’s since we were kids and looking at this series make me think deep and not just see barbie as a doll for fun! A great artwork I must say.

  9. Wow, I have never heard of her. Why is that? This would be an interesting topic to watch on tv while drinking my coffee in the morning. I think she should be showcased more to stir up more conversation on topics!

  10. Blair villanueva on

    Barbie dolls has been part of my childhood (i think I still kept some for display purposes only). This is such an interesting exhibition making Barbie dolls as medium, and yeah I could imagine the cost of its production!
    Will Ken doll be part of it?

  11. Ha! I had no idea this Barbie existed, very interesting… and maybe a little controversial…
    Barbie has been around for a long time and I know kids today that STILL love playing with those things ; )
    I like the playful act and imagination with the trophy wife Barbie!

  12. Thats such a unique and inventive idea. It’s kind of hard to believe the things that can be created. I wish I had that kind of visual imagination. I really love the one with the skirt pulled up and then all the beliefs based upon the length of the skirt. It certainly challenges social mores. It’s awesome

  13. I honestly didn’t know that this Barbie existed. I love the concept, the conversation this provokes, and the thought behind what she is supposed to represent. However, I have a two year old daughter that I personally will be having play with my old Barbie dolls. But that is just my personal choice.

  14. Annelies has truly made a great impression doing art with Barbie dolls. I’ve seen other artists too who does the same thing and I truly admire artists who do it!

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