Art And Culture

Octogenarian Doll Maker Going Strong

Octogenarian Doll Maker Going StrongOctogenarian Doll Maker Going Strong

A doll exhibition at an art gallery is not unusual. But what was unique about the exhibition at Zemestan Art Gallery in the Iranian Artists Forum was that it was the third one by a gutsy octogenarian artist, Bibi Hazer Omidvari. And it opened appropriately on the International Day of Older Persons (October 1).

Over 300 beautiful fabric dolls were unveiled in the solo display titled ‘Bibi Hazer’s Assorted Dolls,’ Mehr News Agency reported.

Omidvari’s works of art are inspired by ancient Iranian stories and her home town’s culture and traditions, in which she is well-versed.

She started making puppets 15 years ago, using fabric pieces and yarn. Although she has no formal training or education, she creates her imaginary doll characters within a short time with her nimble fingers.

Every doll has a name and a story behind it. ‘Moon-faced’, ‘Samambar’, ‘The Mute Doll’, ‘Masoumeh and Her Seven Brothers’, ‘The Patience Stone’ and ‘Barley’s Price’ are among them, narrated for visitors.

Omidvari makes dolls for weddings and traditional and colorful dresses, in addition to the popular Iranian puppet ‘Kolah Qermezi’ (Red-Hat) and ‘Naneh Eskandar’, one of the characters of the famous local animation ‘Shekarestan’.

Bahman Abbaspour, her grandson says, “She used to knit doormats at one time. However, after vision impairment, she started making dolls. When I saw that she has created a vast number of dolls, I encouraged her to display her work at a fair last April, and her motivation increased.”

 “Many of the dolls are unique. Bibi Hazer creates some of her dolls by watching TV programs. Also, some dolls show the dress of tribal people in Fars Province,” he added.

In her earlier exhibition, the Doll-Makers Association of Theater House staged a puppetry show based on the stories of her dolls.

“When somebody comes to see my creations, I feel happy. Doctors say I shouldn’t do needlework, but it’s boring to hang around, with nothing to do,” she says nonchalantly.

She learnt the art of doll making and patchwork from waste fabric from her mother and she weaves stories heard in her childhood around the characters. “My grandma used to tell me beautiful fairy tales and fables.”

Born in Kazerun in Fars Province, Omidvari’s two earlier exhibitions were warmly welcomed by visitors. The exhibition concluded on October 11.