photos by Felix Sanchez

My Life as a Doll is the result of a three-year collaboration between sculptor Tara Conley and writer Tria Wood. From 2008 to 2011, together they created an 800 square-foot residence with rooms defined by pages from a gigantic book. Not only did Tria write the verse that appears as the narrative on the “pages” of this installation, but she was also instrumental in developing its concept, form, and aesthetic, as well as determining its contents. In this work, seductive aspects of a “dream house” slowly reveal the perils for the narrator, a woman living her life as a doll. By exploring personal spaces and narrative elements of this character’s life, viewers encounter a complex dialogue about power structures, childhood expectations, and gender roles that take root early on and continue to shape us as adults. This installation was exhibited in the winter of 2011 at DiverseWorks Artspace and in early 2015 at the Houston Museum of African American Culture.