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Guided Tours

What a Small World!

December 24, 2013-September 30, 2014
Location: The Ruth Youth Wing Illustration Library
Artist: Anna Riwkin-Brick
Curator: Orna Granot
Media: books

Who is Noriko San, the girl from Japan, waiting for? Wil Ella Kerry find her dog, Taipu? Where did Sia go without asking her parents? Anna Riwkin-Brick photogrpahed these girls during her travels around the world, coming to know them and all the other children featured in ther 1950-70 book series, "Children of the World." The weaving of realistic details of their lives into fictional stories is the magical element of the series, and a large part of what makes the stories so memorable. The portraits are  paricularly prominent; taken at eye-level, they draw the reader into each child's story. The desire to make a faraway country feel close to home evolved in the years following World War II, in which people felt a need to encourage fellowship, patience, and love in the world.

Displayed alongside the photographs from the series are souvenir dolls from the collection of the Youth Wing for Art Education. While some had ritual significance in their countries  of origina, some were created for decoration, and others represent national pride, all of the dolls were purchased as mementoes froma foreign culture, and became more widely distributed as tourism gained popularity. Often, they were purchased by traveling adults for their children who remained at home. For the child who received the gift, the doll was more than a simple plaything?: it was a representation of the place and culture in which it was created.

What do the dolls and the "Children of the World" series have in common? Both serve to ease feelings of fear and danger: presenting doll-sized characters and child protagonists transformed the unknown into the familiar and created new cultural heroes - heroes who became the reader's friends and inspired the idea that the big world in which we live is actually quite small.

Opening Hours for Youth Wing Illustration Library 

Sun, Wed 10:00am-2:00pm
Mon, Thurs 1:00-5:00pm
Tues 4:00-7:00pm
Fridays and holiday eves Closed