Name: Clonette Baby DeiDei and a Clonette Figurine
Made by and When: The maker of the colorful Baby DeiDei Clonettes is unknown. The museum acquired these in 2017. Acquired in 2020, the brown and black Baby DeiDe Clonettes were distributed by Clonette Dolls of London. The ceramic figurine was made in 2020 by Fugi Naim of Israel.
Material: Baby DeiDei dolls are made of recycled hollow plastic. The figurine is ceramic.
Marks: Colorful Baby DeiDei (unmarked); brown and black versions have a hangtag that reads Clonette Dolls. The back of the ceramic figurine is marked FUGI NAIM (with a black heart painted underneath).
Height: 8 inches (colorful Baby DeiDei); 9-1/2 inches (brown and black Baby DeiDei), and 8-1/2 inches (ceramic figurine)
Hair, Eyes, Mouth: Including the figurine, all have sculpted hair. The figurine has two sculpted Afro puffs while the Clonettes’ hairstyle is a sculpted short vintage bob. The plastic dolls have molded facial features. The ceramic figurine’s facial features are painted; it has mauve-colored cheeks and lips which contrast with the ebony complexion.
Clothes: Uniformly colored molded-on clothing, socks, and shoes match the skin tones of the Clonettes. The ceramic figurine has a painted-on red, white, and black dress; red and white striped stockings, and metallic gold painted-on shoes. The Clonettes and the figurine hold a sculpted sleeping bunny rabbit.
Other: Clonette dolls originated as an ere ibeji or replacement object for Yoruba mothers, who have a high incidence of twin births that result in the death of one twin. For the grieving mother, the ere ibeji or Clonette serves as a stand-in for the deceased child with the mother caring for the Clonette as though it were the child. Originally made of wood, grass, and fabric, today’s retro Clonettes are made of hollow recycled plastic in a variety of colors and sizes. Some are still sold in African markets in Ghana. In addition to the name Baby DeiDei, they are also known as Jacinda and Auntie. They are described by the Clonette Dolls website as originating “in Ghana during the colonial era and were the first industrially produced doll in Africa.”
Made with positive intent, Fugi Naim’s motive is to continue the discussion with her reinterpretations of vintage dolls.
Read more about Clonette dolls at the following website links:
Brown and Black Dolls and a Gift from Israel
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