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A miniature doll and her mop of hair

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How a five-centimetre little doll packed enough of a punch in its message to feature in the prestigious Kochi Muziris Biennale

Just five centimetres tall, she has a mop of curly hair and loads of attitude. Let’s not forget style: a check skirt, circular-framed specs and a pert red mouth. Meet the Curly Wurly doll, who is in the news for both her hair and her “how tall are we” attitude. Messy hair and a resolute heart defines one, while another claims to be a free spirit with a bold heart.

Her makers, Bengaluru-based freelance graphic designers Premanath Ayil and Anisha P, studied at the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram. Three years ago, they quit their jobs to follow a lifestyle that includes yoga, meditation and travelling.

Speaking of their creation, both agree that they have unconsciously cast her in their own images. While the dolls began as a creative lockdown pastime, they caught the eye of gallerist Dilip Narayan who decided to showcase them at OED Elements, a high-end clothing and accessories store in Kochi, in December during the Kochi Muziris Biennale.

Anisha, who is keen on miniature art and handwork, made the dolls using cotton fabric and “whatever was around the house”. As it took shape, “a friend’s daughter called it Curly Wurly pointing out the similarity between the doll’s hair and mine,” says Anisha, adding that Premnath too shares a similar head of hair. Curly Wurly’s hairstyles are different. Made from jute fibre, the loose locks fall over her tiny body or sit in tight coils around her face or even stand up stiff as if reacting to static electricity. It also comes in a colour palette of red, white, black, brown and golden.

A miniature doll and her mop of hair

“She came about organically and, now that she’s finding her way into the art world, we are thinking seriously of the story around her,” says Premnath. “She’s definitely going to be a symbol of all organic clothing and processes.” The duo, who have over a decade of experience in fashion merchandising and designing, have made over a 100 dolls so far and recently introduced the doll dressed in Kerala handloom for Onam

The dolls are priced at ₹999. More details at curlywurly.in

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