Click here to watch Big Gurl on Vimeo

Lauren Kelley uses stop-motion animation to explore stereotypes of femininity and race. By using her voice to speak for a cast of Black dolls, Kelley breathes life into plastic characters while poignantly and humorously addressing issues such as gender, womanhood, and the human condition. Whether telling stories of unplanned pregnancy or exploring the world of flight attendants, Kelley’s work introduces its viewers to a world in which dolls and puppets are caught in endless streams of consciousness, trapped in a bizarre theater of the absurd.

In Big Gurl, Kelley uses a combination of Barbie™ dolls, Claymation, and stop animation to create a series of satirical and outrageously comedic vignettes. While Barbie™ is frequently referenced in popular culture, the artist brings a unique perspective to the doll’s iconic frame. In this video work, Kelley alters the doll to create a variety of shades, shapes, and sizes representing a range of Black female physiques and tackles serious subjects such as of pregnancy, male chauvinism, self-image, intergenerational relationships, and class. Challenging the notion of physical imperfections, Kelley repurposes familiar cultural signifiers of beauty and perfection to explore ideas about female adolescence and womanhood.