Black Artist Doll Maker Nadia Francis Front Profile


Nadia’s artistic education was self-directed and highly unorthodox. It involved countless hours of meticulously dissecting human bodies. She was born in Prince Georges County Maryland to a large family of Jamaican immigrants who strongly valued the medical field. Her mother and her mother’s eight sisters were all medical professionals. Nadia continued in their footsteps studying biology at Howard University. After graduating she went on to conduct Medical Research at the Food and Drug Administration as a biologist. Though her background was in the sciences Nadia cherished and nurtured her natural artistic talents. By 2011 she had positioned herself between two worlds. She would spend her days carefully and methodically taking bodies apart in the university medical laboratory, studying and conduction research. Her evenings were spent recreating bodies in the form of figurative sculpture. Some days she would dissect a head in the day and sculpt a portrait at night. She realized that she was using the same basic talents to either create or destroy the body. In her spare time, she also studied esoteric aspects of the human body. These experiences would later inform her art.

Nadia is a sculptor currently exploring the body through meticulously sculpted dolls in what she calls The Black Doll Project. Each doll is an articulated and movable work of art, made of over 20 segments she sculpts and cast by hand. She makes the eyes, hair, jewelry and accessories herself embedding magnets so that earrings and other detachable parts can be attached. To her, dolls symbolize the human body and spirit and the human body is a map of the universe. She focuses on the Black female body to uplift and celebrate Black womanhood.