Baby Doll, series number 3 (from a series of 12)

Senzeni Marasela, South African, born 1977



Six digital prints on mat archival paper


Image: 15 3/4 × 23 9/16 in. (40 × 59.9 cm)

Sheet: 19 × 26 in. (48.2 × 66 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Charles F. Vernick 1936 Fund

© Senzeni Marasela



Place Made: South Africa, Southern Africa, Africa


21st century

Object Name


Research Area



Not on view


(3): signed and dated, in graphite, lower right: Senzeni M. Marasela '06; inscribed in graphite, bottom center: Baby Dolls; inscribed in graphite, lower left: 1/3


A Black baby doll against bright green grass is captured as it unravels—or perhaps, as it is sewn together. Senzeni Marasela gestures toward the uncertainty and violence of being a Black child growing up under South African Apartheid. These photographs are from a series of twelve, each of which pictures the doll at a point of deconstruction. The ripped-apartness mirrors the artist’s own childhood: she was sent to a boarding school to avoid Apartheid atrocities and her mother was sent to be a domestic worker in a white household, a fate of many Black women during the era. There is certainly a feminist politic and emotional release being generated in the tearing apart of the doll. What does it mean to unpack, or dismantle, the symbols of one’s childhood?

From the 2023 exhibition Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, curated by Alexandra Thomas, Curatorial Research Associate

Exhibition History

Homecoming: Domesticity and Kinship in Global African Art, Harteveldt Family Gallery, Owen Robertson Cheatham Gallery, and Northeast Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 22, 2023–May 25, 2024.

Publication History

Brian P. Kennedy and Emily Shubert Burke, Modern and Contemporary Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2009 p.209, no.275.


The artist; Axis Gallery, West Orange, New Jersey; sold to present collection, 2008.

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