“The Other Toy Story;” art from forgotten toys

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Joyce Dallal, artist in residence at the Marlborough School in Los Angles, is someone we have come to know through her participation in last month’s Building Our Future; Girls Toys & Media conference in Los Angeles.”  Joyce became fascinated with toys while cleaning out her son’s old playthings and began the Marlborough School project to make use of them and other discarded playthings.  Called “The Other Toy Story,” here is how the website describes her journey:

The concept grew out of the consternation felt by the artist upon cleaning out several years’ worth of toys from her son’s room, and wondering what to do with it all. So many of the toys were missing pieces or broken, that donating them was not a good … The thought of throwing them in the trash was hard to stomach … So, the artist carted them off to her studio until a time when she could think of something to do with them….[I]t seemed like a good opportunity to have young people, who are the consumers of toys, participate in an investigation of this issue through the medium of art.

One result has been Joyce’s use of toys to create a sculpture.  Called “Receptacle,” it is essentially a 10-foot-tall wire trash can in the shape of a baby to which visitors contribute their own broken and used toys that are too trashed to be donated, and cannot be recycled because they are made from mixed materials.  The piece of sculpture will, through the process of being filled, make a statement on the abundance of discarded plastic in the world, as well as the construction of identity through the literal consumption of the culture. 

If you are in the Los Angeles area you may want to stop in and take a look.  It will be on display until June 3, 2011 with the rest of the Other Toy Story project at Seaver Gallery, Munger Hall, Marlborough School.

Joyce Dallal is an artist who works in a variety of media, from hand-made books and collage to photography, video, installation, and public art. The themes that resurface again and again in her artwork are those of collective and personal history, community, memory, and the evolution of contemporary cultural identity. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and is the recipient of several grants and fellowships, among them a National Endowment for the Arts Regional Arts Fellowship in Photography, a City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Grant, and a Brody Arts Fellowship, and she has completed two public art projects for the Los Angeles Public Libraries. She received her Masters in Fine Art from USC and is a professor at El Camino College in Southern California.

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