Belinda Lyons Zucker is a remarkable artist who created over 400 dolls and figures for galleries and by commission since 1998. An accomplished ceramic artist and painter, Belinda transforms her love of fabric and clay into characters of anthropomorphic quality.
“I want to stretch the definition of dolls as playthings to objects of art that serves as mediators. Each character can represent a time or a feeling of a real-life person. I want them to speak to you and make you smile. In 1998 I learned to make wrapped figures from Miss Elizabeth, a South Carolinian Gullah, who learned from her grandmother, a slave. The art of wrapping meaniful and sacred objects as an offerings (nkisi) can be traced to the people of Sierra Leone and the Congo. This technique passed from generation to generation and survived the "crossing" to the Americas. My current work is about my fascination with ritual and mythology. I have created small "poupes" with masks. The masks are made of bisque-fired stonewear or polymer clay. My current work is about my fascination with ritual and mythology. I have created small "poupes" with masks. The masks are made of bisque-fired stonewear or polymer clay.
“It was not until I discovered the art of doll making that I found my voice; discovery of my soul's foundation. I am pulled to articulate the human figure as a spirit rather than rendering an anatomically correct doll. The spirit of each doll and figure I create is significant to me. Since then, I have learned about West African art. The wood carving, clay figures and masks are not art but, created as intermediators or tools for ritual function associated with the supernatural, spirit world or religion. “Drawing on African resources to inspire my work is a way of holding the connection to my ancestors. We Americans of African descent are a spiritual people. As we continue to assimilate into our Americaness, will our young ones lose their connection? I hold this responsibility to stay connected to my ancestral origins by creating and teaching.” – Belinda Lyons Zucker Her work has been shown in solo and juried exhibitions, most notably, “the grandMOTHERS” a solo exhibit at Northhampton Center for the Art, Northampton Massachusetts. Belinda’s work has also been seen in several publications of Art Doll Quarterly and Preview.
Belinda Lyons Zucker
"Jane" one of the fiber figures by Belinda Lyons Zucker
BELINDA LYONS ZUCKER
FLY AWAY HOME: An Exhibit Of Dolls And Figures From Black Folklore
Two squares from the "Ladies Moral Compass Quilt" sewn in 2017 by community members in and around Charlemont, MA