Welcome to the website of DABIDA (Dutch and Belgium Institute of Doll Artists). We are an association for and about dolls and figurative art. Our members are artists from the Netherlands and Belgium.
We strive to inform the public about the manufacturing and availability of original/unique dolls and figures handcrafted by artists using the same creative approach used in painted and sculpted art.
We offer members and newcomers a platform to digitally display their creations to a larger audience, through this website, Facebook and Instagram. By participating in fairs, art event and exhibitions, such as our own DABIDA day, the work can also be shown in real life.
Find out more on our site about who we are, what we do, our history and how we see doll art.
For questions you can always contact us.
Every year we organize the DABIDA Annual Doll Award, known as the Hannie Sarris Award. We invite everyone to submit work for this Annual Award. The work must be specially made for a theme chosen by DABIDA. Read more about and how you can enter this competition.
(photo: top 3 of the very first DABIDA Award in 2009)
Dolls have been made since ancient times. They are seen as a link between man and the mystical. They have been used as amulets with supernatural powers, charm and magic. Some figures are simple and schematic, others are complex and extremely precise. They are all masterpieces in which love, fantasy and skill are expressed.
Although dolls are often associated with toys, the creations of DABIDA members are definitely not for children. Although our dolls are not to play with, they are interactive and communicate with the audience. The doll is made from idea to finish by the artist, consciously or unconsciously transferring parts of the soul to the doll. The doll / art object reflects and transforms the world around it.
Originally, dolls in the Netherlands were mainly made by women as a handicraft hobby. In the 15+ years that DABIDA exists, doll making has grown into a mature art form. We present our creations as figurative art, they are intended as objects to look at, to admire and to convey emotion to the viewer. The members of DABIDA are professionals who have been creating their figures full-time or part-time for years, each has developed their own style. Although the process still requires many traditional techniques, the end result is a high level piece of art. The makers are genuine visual artists.
Each piece of work is made with passion, striving for perfection and with eye for detail. It is quirky, one’s own and unique. The work is multidisciplinary and multi medial. Multiple techniques/disciplines are used in one creation, such as; sculpting, painting, sewing and/or innovative techniques. The use of materials is unlimited. The skin can be sculpted from types of clay, but also from fabric. Eyes, hair, clothing and accessories are designed by the artist to achieve the intended result. The use of soft materials, such as cloth, felt and hair are not common for sculpture, so this is the most obvious difference. The synthesis of materials is the main feature of a doll as opposed to a sculpture. Dolls are a combination of sculpture, design and painting.
Making doll art is not necessarily copying a person or a human figure, these can be abstract, realistic or idyllic, but the human form is the common denominator that connects us. The doll can be movable. Mobility sometimes requires technical solutions. For a static (fixed) doll, expressiveness of posture and facial expressions is very important. One look at it should reflect the idea that the artist intended.
If you want to stay informed about DABIDA activities, check out our news page or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
ATTENTION The submission deadline for the Hannie Sarris Award (HSA) has been rescheduled from Augus
Once again we invite doll artists to participate the Hannie Sarris Doll Award 2023/2024. This years
DABIDA wishes everybody a healthy and creative 2023!