Why I Make "Rebel Girl" Art Dolls
Updated: Jun 12, 2022
By Miko Henry
Making art for me is therapy. I have often created out of a need to express something that could not be articulated with words. It's a way of letting go of feelings or experiences that don't serve my well-being through the creation process itself. Making Frida Kahlo dolls become one such example . By personifying an artist who conveyed such powerful storytelling in her work, it helped me to work through some of my own personal struggles. Choosing to represent someone who I valued and was empowered by felt important to me. From Frida's birth came many examples of other women throughout history and contemporary society who have risen to have their voices, minds, art, and music heard in a world that wanted them to be quiet; I want to pay tribute to them. Stories of these women make me feel like seemingly impossible challenges can be overcome and I want to pass that on, and to celebrate in their achievements.
My first series features seven women from today that were largely inspired from a series of books that are mainstays in our household: “Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls”, “Little Dreamers Visionary Women around the World”, “What Would She Do? 25 Stories of Trailblazing Rebel Women”, “Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers & Rebels”, “Little Feminist”, “Baby Feminists” and the list goes on, of books in that vein that highlight females who have forged their way to change. I chose to represent living icons in my first series as a way of making the context of their story relevant and more relatable for a young person. As my seven year old’s most common question after reading one woman's story is, “Is she still alive?” My next series will feature seven females who have broken barriers throughout history.
I am fortunate to have been surrounded by strong women throughout my life. Those closest to me, my mother and two older sisters, are all examples of independent, resilient, driven females and they have always made me want to rise up and meet them there. The closest friends I've ever had are women with a fierceness to unapologetically be who they are. I feel I was drawn to them and vice versa because we were fortified through the reciprocal admiration of one another's different but equally determined senses of self. I'm a staunch believer that by supporting and giving love to women, we all become stronger, I want my daughters to have that same faith, and that is why I make “Rebel Girl” art dolls.