Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Miniland Dolls
The Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Miniland Dolls are a world-first collaboration by Axis Toys, the Australian and New Zealand distributor of Miniland Dolls with Miniland Education in Spain, to create an Aboriginal Dolls range especially for Australia. Like all Miniland dolls, they have been created around Miniland’s core values of diversity, respect and inclusion. Paula Opfer, co-founder of Axis Toys said: “They are long overdue in my opinion and a provide a real opportunity for all Australian children, Indigenous or otherwise, to be part of the next chapter in our Australian story, one of a love for diversity, told though the best storytelling of all – kids play.”
The range was developed in consultation with several indigenous Australians including the renowned artist Garry Purchase. For Garry these dolls are both a source of pride and a dream come true. “When I was a child, there were no Aboriginal dolls in early education, or boomerangs, or other culturally significant items, and certainly no dolls. 2021 is a different time and I am glad we’re moving forward and giving Australian Aboriginal Dolls to our children, the next generation. It’s a good thing for us (the Aboriginal people), and good for everybody,” he said.
“I feel a great deal of pride to have been involved in the development of these Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Miniland Dolls. Taking time to consult with (Aboriginal people) is a show of respect. For me to impart my opinion and have a say in this and give guidance on how they look, is a big thing and I feel extremely proud. Also, to have our culture recognised in a proper way, like all other cultures, is priceless. Aboriginal kids, at last, have a doll they can identify with. Our whole struggle has been that we’ve been treated differently, so just to play with dolls that look like us the way others do, normalises things.
“Showing kids from a non-indigenous background who and what Aboriginal culture is has been swept under the rug for too long. Let’s remove the stigma. There is so much of this country and culture we don’t know about - by making it part of every child’s early learning and play, it just helps everybody,” says Garry.
Axis Toys will be donating 3.5% of proceeds from the sales of these dolls to Aboriginal community-led organisation Children’s Ground. These funds directly support communities in the Northern Territory who are seeking a different future for the next generation of Aboriginal children across education, health and well-being, employment and community development.
“We have has also teamed up with dolls' clothing designer made for mia, to produce a capsule collection based on Aboriginal artworks that help raise money for Aboriginal community-led causes too. Made for Mia has a strong familial link with Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is highly passionate about this project,” said Paula.
Kim McQuire, the designer from Made for Mia refers to her collection as her ‘special project’. “I’ve been working on it for a few months now! I’m so excited to have created a bespoke collection of dolls’ clothes especially for the release of the beautiful new Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Miniland Dolls.
“The fabric that I have used to create this range is made using authentic Aboriginal artwork, by various artists (you can read more on my website). Funds from the sales of these fabrics go back to supporting Indigenous communities and people. I’m thrilled to finally share this and honoured to be a part of it.”
‘’We are working with Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander social media influencers and photographers for the launch of these dolls and as mentioned a clothing designer who in turn is working with indigenous artists, “explains Paula. “We want to make sure that these dolls benefit the Aboriginal community as well as involving them,” she said.
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