Artist, Belinda Smith’s work, Blue Jean Sisters for A Fierce Hope is testament to the importance of valuing all individuals and resources as well as the fruitfulness of creative community collaboration.
In Blue Jean Sisters, Belinda has used the rag-doll to highlight the innocence lost for so many girls around the world who are forced into slavery and prostitution.
Belinda was inspired by the work of Outland Denim who train and employ, on a living wage, vulnerable women and girls at their ethical clothing production base in Cambodia.
Over a period of 12 months, Belinda’s project activated over 200 people to participate. Denim dolls were made by creative community groups in workshops, individuals and people as far away as Brazil, the United Kingdom and Canada.
In the process the artist has educated people and encouraged them to use loving hands and open hearts to create a Blue Jean Sister and raise awareness for the plight of so many vulnerable women and girls.
Makers used a specific provided pattern to hand-sew from their own pre-loved denim items dolls filled with leftover fabric aiming for a zero-waste product.
The whole process of Blue Jean Sisters from making to presentation within the exhibition for Belinda is representative of the “idea that there is a human behind every item of clothing that is made.
“The denim presents so many different variations in colour and every doll is individual so it ends up being a bit of a snap-shot of humanity. I’ve got a couple of dolls with only one arm and I’ve got dolls that have been made by children and so their wonky and I’ve got arms that are up and arms that are down and there are multi-colours in each one,” Belinda said.
” I have been thinking about Blue Jean Sisters in light of recent events around the world. I have always loved the notion that the dolls were cut from the same pattern and cloth but each one is individual and precious. The humanity of this is relevant right now,” Belinda said.
Take a look at the short video documenting the project
Blue Jean Sisters will evolve at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery from March 2021 with new work from Belinda Smith utilising the scraps and waste left in the artist’s studio after the original projects was completed.
“In essence I am continuing to explore how to deal with the waste of our continually wasteful world,” Belinda said.
The exhibition will also see the beginning of the next phase of the Blue Jean Sisters project where dolls will find new homes in the hands of children through public programs.
Take a look through some of the many contributions from makers including; the Country Women’s Association, an Architectural firm, Artisan, craft groups, educators, Art Galleries, sustainability advocates, Sisters of Mercy and individuals from around the world: