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Latino Daily News

Wednesday January 26, 2011

Bolivian Artisans Transform Barbie into a Native ‘Cholita’ Doll

Bolivian Artisans Transform Barbie into a Native ‘Cholita’ Doll

Photo: "Hugo Creations" makes Bolivian Barbie dolls or "Cholitas".

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Fifteen young Bolivian artisans between the ages of 15 and 20 years old, worked together to transform Barbie dolls, into “Cholita” dolls reminiscent of the Bolivian Aymara women.

Hugo Ramos, who had the idea of making Cholita dolls said that the dolls made at “Hugo Creations” are the equivalent of a Bolivian Barbie.

“We had this idea of give Barbie a new outfit, diferent to traditional Barbies which are very admired and in high demand. Is not strange to see a Barbie that looks like a 36-24-36. So it is novel to see a Barbie that wears a “pollera.” Wearing a “pollera” is a question of pride. Is to show who we are,” said Ramos.

Ramos and his group of teenage designers, tailors and artisans gets their dolls from China, then the team removes the posh outfits and high heels and pop accessories that customarily come with Barbie dolls, and replace them with colorful shirts, beautiful “pollera” skirts, miniature felt bowl hats and flat shoes. The team also replaces the emblematic blonde hair with jet black locks, sometimes braided.

Mariana Quispe (16) is in charge of sewing and putting the little outfits together. “You see mainstream dolls with mini skirts, and little purses everywhere, but here we dress like this, so we’ve changed their outfits for “polleras” so the dolls look prettier,” she said.

The guys at “Hugo Creations,”  are already making Andean versions of Ken to sell along with the Cholitas at the Bolivian “Alasita” fair.

Alasita (“Purchase Me” in Aymara) is a traditional celebration where locals exhibit and sell miniature, relevant to “Ekeko,”  a pagan deity that represents abundance and prosperity.

Believers present “Ekeko” with miniature versions of things they wish the deity to help them attain.

During the days preceding the celebration, locals install a market place where artisans and craftsmen sell pocket sized stuff like tiny houses, miniature cars,  etc.

“We make them so people ask Ekeko for a girlfriend as pretty as them,” said Ramos.

We wonder if they’ll make us a dime sized pot of gold…..