Glen Calleja & Lori Sauer

KIN is about making handcrafted dolls and creating stories around them.  In the Autumn of 2019, the dolls will start looking for their guardians and people will be able to adopt them for short periods of times.  They will be delivered to people's houses or workplaces to keep them company for a short while, bringing with them a universe of stories, wisdom and experience.

This is a collaborative project between Glen Calleja and Lori Sauer who are looking at dolls as coveted objects that are present across continents, cultures and times. It's a truly universal phenomenon, from African fetish cult figurines to Victorian mourning dolls, from native American faceless dolls to mass produced Barbies and Kens. We've all known dolls at some stage or other in our lives.  KIN acknowledges this continuous presence in our lives. It's about those we've known, those we identify with, those we've lost and those we're yet to meet, about friends and extended family.  It's not just about lifeless objects.

Calleja and Sauer are making dolls in an attempt to make sense of the human need to create an object in our likeness.   The physical form of these objects could be anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, a hybrid of both or even a non-figurative form.  What differentiates dolls from other forms of sculpture is that, though equally inanimate, we expect them to speak to us. 

Dolls lie somewhere between the inanimate and the living. In play, they embody characters we manipulate. In the hands of the shaman, they are instruments of the divine, charged with powerful gods and spirits. In the psychologist's clinic, they stand in for loved ones we've lost or who hurt us.  Their character changes according to their physical form and social context. When dolls stop speaking they become decorative figurines. KIN is meant to speak of belonging, of blood relations, of spiritual parents and guardians, of who is accepted and who is ostracised in one's tribe, territory, life, of human dealings on the chthonic plane, of instruments of intercession and of play.

For more information about the KIN dolls project or to book a doll for adoption please refer to

Instagram: thekindollsproject

This project is supported by the Project Support Grant - Malta Arts Fund. 

Photos by Giola Cassar.