Russian ‘matryoshka’ dolls modeled after gay celebrities to challenge Putin
Lovingly hand-painted ”matryoshka” dolls of seven high-profile British gay men are the tools of a new campaign to highlight homophobic laws in Russia. Seven sets of models depicting British celebrities Elton John, Stephen Fry, George Michael, Graham Norton and Tom Daley will be auctioned with the proceeds going to LGBT charity The Kaleidoscope Trust, says Liam Fay-Fright of Mother London, the agency that designed them.
Metro: What sort of impact are you hoping for?
Fay-Fright: We want to raise at least $10,000 for the Trust battling against homophobia. We have commissioned very talented artists so that people will want them as Christmas gifts as well as the statement they make.
Was it difficult to choose what celebrities would become dolls?
Yes, there was a lot of competition but in the end we chose these based on their profile. Also, they are all men as there are particularly punitive laws against gay men in Russia, which we wanted to address.
Are you hoping to create a diplomatic incident?
I hope it causes a diplomatic discussion that raises awareness of the situation, leads to political pressure that encourages the government to reconsider their attitude. We’re hoping for a bidding war – there are only seven sets available and maybe Elton John will get involved!
Will you tackle more human rights issues with dolls – perhaps the aborigines’ plight in Australia?
We have a long history dealing with contentious social and political issues. The most famous was when we sent two people dressed as gypsies – one pregnant – round the most posh hotels in London and recorded the reactions to show the prejudice against them.