American Artist in Milan: The Wall of Dolls

Yesterday, while walking around the city I came upon an incredible art installation, The Wall of Dolls. This wall was created in 2014 as both a protest and to raise awareness around femicide. Every doll on the wall represents a woman who has been murdered and each year it appears to grow as violence against women continues to be an issue not just here, but all around the world.

I hadn’t been searching for this art installation, but I’m really glad to have found it… I found it really moving and at the same time upsetting. Every doll representing a woman who was murdered, every who was at one time a little girl who played with dolls. It shows that even today, the world women live in is very different from the one men know.

As a woman living in this world, I go about everyday knowing that I could easily be met with violence of some sort just because I’m a woman. Always having to be aware of my surroundings, the time of day. Putting up with unwanted attention because it’s easier, or more accurately safer, to smile and nod politely than tells the person to F– Off, which maybe what I really want to say. It’s a reality every woman faces and it’s something that, at least for me, is pushed to the back of the mind because that’s what is needed in order to be able to leave the house and go to work in the morning, or go to the store, or do anything.

Seeing this wall and the sheer number of dolls that are attached to the wall, it’s a slap in the face at the number of women who left home one day and didn’t come back, or who were attacked while at home. It’s a reminder of that no matter how much we think the world may have changed, or evolved, it’s not nearly enough. Not until everyone can refuse to smile at a person without wondering in the back of their mind, is this the day I’m going to be killed because I refused to acknowledge a compliment.

This just shows how powerful art can be, how important it is to use art to share important truths. Everyday, we hear reports of senseless killing, so much so that we’re almost numb to the impact of yet another life lost to violence. Here, art makes an impact, because it takes objects from childhood to remind us that each and everyone of these women who were killed were at one point children, and every doll represents a child gone from the world.

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