The Faceless Dolls Project is a creative and educational arts initiative inspired by the traditional Faceless Dolls made by Liliana Mera Lime, an artist and pottery worker from the town of Moca in the Dominican Republic. We invite you to participate by combining creativity and narrative through the creation of a unique, faceless doll to do one or more of the following:
Since Spring of 2021, PUAM has partnered with Salem Maritime National Park Services to educate the community and celebrate our unique heritage through storytelling, designing, and building. The goal is to expand this project over time as a way to consistently gather and celebrate communities through storytelling and arts.
This project serves as a powerful tool to educate the community about immigrant arts and culture, foster neighborhood pride and celebrate diverse identities of communities like the Point neighborhood in Salem.
The Faceless Dolls Project is a creative and educational arts initiative started by the Punto Urban Arts Museum (PUAM), a program of North Shore Community Development Coalition (NSCDC). Inspired by the traditional Faceless Dolls made by Liliana Mera Limé, a pottery worker from the town of Moca in the Dominican Republic, the project invites individuals to combine creativity and narrative through the creation of a unique paper doll in a few basic steps. As a celebration of heritage, these stories will represent and help preserve the diverse identities that reside in El Punto.
Since Spring of 2021, the PUAM and Salem Maritime National Park Services have fun a series of workshops both virtually and in-person at NSCDC’s community space, Espacio in el Punto. Each workshop involves three components: storytelling, designing, and building. The storytelling portion allows participants to answer prompts about their own heritage and how they perceive elements of their heritage through their senses and memories. Participants translate these stories into drawings, stamps, words, and more that they design onto the paper doll template. Lastly, everyone builds their doll into its proud, three-dimensional form, finishing with the iconic faceless head.
NSCDC’s goal is to grow the Faceless Dolls Project overtime as a way to consistently gather and honor community stories through mindfulness and craft. It serves as a way for neighbors and friends to get to know each other better. We are hoping to have future exhibits across Salem. The first major celebration of the community’s Faceless Dolls was displayed at the Salem Armory Visitors’ Center from May 7 to June 30, 2022.
The exhibition is coming to Espacio – 105 Congress Street in Salem – from September 20th through November 1st. Stay tuned for more details!
Design and Placemaking Manager
North Shore CDC
“…Don’t pet my hair and touch it like I am one. This is not a wash and go. Wash, condition, Detangle, part twist twist twist. It does not take me a minute to do my hair. Five minutes 10 minutes 15 minutes past I’m still going twist twist twist another five minutes twist twist twist twist twist 20 minutes past now it’s time for bed grab my silk bonnet put it on now it’s Time to rest…”
– Tatiana Rivas, Lynn resident and YouthBuild North Shore CDC graduate
“My Dominican Faceless Doll represents many stories. The feeling of being different and misunderstood. LGBTQ+ folks who migrate to America looking for hope, understanding, and support. How powerful it is to reclaim our identity…”
– Shantel Alix Fernandez, El Punto resident and North Shore CDC Community Engagement Coordinator
“…Quise que se viera como mucho de nosotros, Sentí que era importante hacerla así porque representa mi raíces, venimos de una cultura afroamericana, y me gusta identificarme con mi cultura. Su pelo está en trenzas y lo cual es nuestro estilo, un estilo afro latino. Incluye flores porque las flores significan felicidad y libertad…”
“I wanted it to look like a lot of us, I felt it was important to do so because it represents my roots, we come from an African American culture, and I like to identify with my culture. Her hair is in braids and which is our latin/afro american style. It includes flowers because flowers mean happiness and freedom.”
– Altagracia Florian, Erika’s Beauty Salon owner
This figure is an example of an original ceramic doll handcrafted in Bonao, Dominican Republic.
“I don’t have a name for my doll. But it represents all the female composers whose names we’ll never know, but whose works have shaped all music, whether we know them now or not. All of the music paper I used is from works by women.”
– Nikki Schafer, Salem Resident and North Shore CDC Economic Development Coordinator.
Learn more about the Faceless Dolls Project and bring this creativity to your own organization, school, and/or community! Preference to those living in the North Shore Massachusetts area.
Gallery Display of Dolls
We are interested in hosting future Salem community sites displaying these wonderful Faceless Dolls. We would love to collaborate with schools, galleries, cultural organizations, museums, etc.