This artist crafts the talk to educate

This artist crafts the talk to educate

Frankoise Bosteels does not draw faces on her dolls and lets the body do the talking. Crafted to perfection, each of her dolls speaks volumes.

It is only after going around for the second time that one realises that the faces were plain with no nose, mouth or eyes. For, the unerring body language and an eye for detail makes one overrule the need for it.

Over 100 of these dolls are on display at the Parallel Arts Festival at the St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences here. The festival has been organised as part of the three-day 5th National Bio­e­th­ics Conference, organised by Indian Journal of Medical Et­h­i­cs (IJME), that began on Thursday.

These dolls could well be a classic example for infotainment. A nurse by profession, Bosteels works in rural Tamil Nadu as a health educator.

“I use the dolls to educate people about health. Hygiene is one of the aspects that rural India can be taught through this,” she said. “Quite often than not, I am asked this question about not having drawn faces on these dolls. For me, body language speaks a lot. I wish to leave the rest to the interpretation of the admirers,” the artist from California added.

More a depiction of typical scenes from rural India, Bosteels’ dolls represent both everyday happenings and themes such as gender equality. “Did you make them looking at my life?” a visitor at the exhibition asked. With simplicity being the key to her art, these dolls have a different incident to relate to for each person. Besides these dolls, poems and write-ups on them have been displayed in the exhibition.

“All these poems have been contributed by different people who have an incident to relate to when they see these. While a few see a depiction of their own lives through the dolls, for others, it is just a reflection of the neighbourhood,” Bosteels explained.

Bosteels began making these dolls when she was bedridden and today, it has turned into her passion.

“When I was unwell, my mother gave me some material to make dolls as that was the only thing I could do. When I came to India, I brought the dolls. Now, it has become a passion,” she said.

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