The visual and performance artist Princess Pea is to launch a series of limited edition sculptures made in wood. Each piece is a work of art, conceptualized and made with great attention to detail by award winning craftsmen in india. The toys will be exhibited for the first time at the Design Store, India Art Fair (28 – 31 January 2016).
The toys mark the first extension of the artist’s renowned trademark character, Princess Pea, which has in itself become an iconic image, symbolic of the values and rights of the ‘girl-child’ in India and the issues surrounding women’s identity in modern day society. The limited edition toy, ‘Fall and Rise’, is a figural representation of Princess Pea’s body type who, when pushed from underneath, collapses down, bouncing back when released to stand upright once more – embodying the resilience of the Indian girl-child, whose rights and values Princess Pea champions.
Gender based discrimination against female children is pervasive across the world; it is seen in all strata of society and manifests in various forms. It is argued that, on account of this inferior treatment, females often fail to understand their rights. This is more predominant in India and a pressing issue that the artist seeks to address. By producing these limited edition toys, which can be available worldwide, Princess Pea is not only creating aesthetically pleasing and accessible small scale sculptures, but is furthering her project aims and reaching a wider audience with this important agenda.
In a further continuation of Princess Pea’s role as a figurehead to inspire and empower, the creation of the toys serve not only to embody the values of the artist, but also to revive and sustain the dying Indian craft of wood-turning, here made using local resources in the village of Etikoppaka.
Traditionally the craft of making wooden objects is said to have been practiced since 300 BC, from toys to decorative ornaments and images of deities. In Etikoppaka more than 200 artisan families would be engaged in toy-making but in the post-independence period lack of demand in the local markets and low prices has critically threatened the sustainability of this industry. The tools are simple, yet through skillful craftsmanship passed down through generations, objects of beauty are made. Through Princess Pea’s work ‘The Pea Family’ of toys sustains this tradition.