How can you combine the biggest social topics with an icon like Barbie? That’s what this visual artist does.She is Annelies Hofmeyr, 37-year old South African-born, Australian-based conceptual artist with a background in Graphic Design and Contemporary Jewellery.
How did you decide to start the Trophy Wife Barbie Instagram account?
I use iconic Barbie imagery, with a little twist, to explore gender issues and the modern female identity while highlighting the limitations of labels. It is often easier to talk about challenging topics using humour and something as non-threatening as a doll. Instagram is a great platform for an image-based project like Trophy Wife Barbie.
I noticed your Barbies always wear antlers. Does this have some secret meaning/message?
The antlers are a physical representation of a label imposed on her and her friends, likening her/them to hunting trophies. Having labels imposed on you and choosing to live according to stereotypes are two very different things. Nobody is just one thing, yet we often treat people as if they are and their labels become their identity.
You have created a community with several fictional characters. Why did you choose Barbies to portray these characters?
Dolls are non-threatening and allow us to project our feelings and ideas onto them. I use Barbies (and Kens) in an attempt to circumvent censorship and talk about more challenging topics. I think I’ve simply found a new way of talking about old things.
Barbie’s friends come from a variety of backgrounds, a lot of which are quite marginalised. Tell me more.
I believe the more we see something, the sooner we become desensitized to it. My intention with incorporating LGBTQ and other marginalized communities in everyday scenarios is to invite people to consider what might happen if we focus on the things that we have in common, rather than fear the things that make us different. Being represented, even in doll form, has a tremendously affirming ability. Building people up and promoting confidence and a healthy self-esteem is very important to me.
What is your aim with Trophy Wife Barbie?
I believe the ultimate goal of art is discussion, something that affords us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and each other. It is also the only way we stand a chance at shattering taboos and growing as a society.
As an artist I feel the Barbie vehicle is one I can take in many directions, including more traditional artistic venues such as gallery exhibitions. There are many ways to reach people and I’m fascinated by different formats of expression.
I’ve launched a website and currently selling prints to help spread the Trophy Wife Barbie message and facilitate discussion outside the realm of social media. When you actually own and interact with an object that carries a message you believe in, that message gets anchored even more deeply, and I’m excited to share that with my followers.
Check her out on http://www.trophywifebarbie.com and IG @trophywifebarbie