Sweet Indian Doll III

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Artist Statement


The Black Doll Series (2017) is a collection of non-gestural, digital images rooted in the aesthetic tradition of geometric abstraction. Sourcing original imagery of black vintage dolls for sale on e-commerce sites like Etsy and eBay, the dolls have been abstracted beyond recognition and paired with their original item description as image captions.

The mass production of black dolls dates back to 19th century Europe. With these “digital paintings” I am interested in the interplay between social representation and memory in relation to the historical constructions of race and gender as seen in children's play. Abstraction is used here to interrupt the stereotypical representations of each doll, as noted in the image captions.

Can colors and geometric shapes be used to deconstruct stereotypes? Can abstraction help the viewer unsee their own mental archive of oppression?


Qiana Mestrich | See All Editions


Qiana Mestrich is a native New Yorker, photo-based artist, educator, writer and mother of two based in Brooklyn. She makes conceptual photographs, books, and installations by working primarily within autobiography while also employing archival and found photography, texts, and ephemera.

Mestrich is the founder of Dodge & Burn: Decolonizing Photography History (est. 2007), an arts initiative that aims to diversify the medium’s history by supporting photographers of color. Dodge & Burn began as a blog and currently functions as a monthly critique group for photographers in NYC.

Her critical writing on photography has been published in art journals like Light Work’s Contact Sheet, En Foco’s Nueva Luz, ARC Magazine and exposure, a journal published by the Society for Photographic Education. She is the co-editor of How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood (Secretary Press), a diverse collection of honest responses from contemporary artists on raising children and making art.

Formally educated in photography, Mestrich received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MFA from ICP-Bard College. Her daughter is named after one of her favorite photographers, Imogen Cunningham.