Poula Sitjar

Womannequin: The Debut Solo Show of Poula Sitjar

Inspired by her childhood with dolls, Poula Sitjar explores their symbolic role in women's growth in her debut show

Exhibition notes Prim Paypon
Editing The Kanto Team
Images Ysobel Art Gallery and Poula Sitjar

one, 16×16 inches, acrylic on canvas, 2023, Header: eighteen, 4×3 ft, acrylic on canvas, 2023

The birth of a woman

A college student during the pandemic, budding artist Poula Sitjar poured herself into her craft. Amidst academic pressure, side projects, and the looming specter of Covid, she patiently toiled in a small studio space where she found the acquaintance of a woman. She served as Sitjar’s avatar as the artist explored the depths of emotion and artistic experimentation, her depictions rendered with a subdued color palette governed by blues and browns.

Sitjar’s canvas often portrayed the character in minimalist spaces and landscapes, only subtly alluding to certain historical periods. Regardless of the era, a cross-examination of Sitjar’s paintings reveals a palpable sense of emptiness and solitude, a skill that took years of devoted practice, and one that drew from the artist’s formative years.

Poula Sitjar
sixteen, 4×3 ft, acrylic on canvas, 2023

Doll as avatar

Sitjar’s artistic roots can be traced back to an introverted childhood where she found solace and companionship in the company of dolls.

Using her family’s old clothes, she sews fashionable garments for these inanimate confidantes. Through staged scenarios and imaginary catwalks, Sitjar refined her social skills, developed empathy, and nurtured self-esteem. Unlike those who outgrow their love for dolls, Sitjar finds herself remembering her childhood ‘friends’ often and contemplating what sort of emotions her once-beloved dolls, unused in a dusty corner of a home, would feel after having outlived their purpose. These musings spurred the artist to explore the subject of silent aging in immortal dolls, as their growing owners eventually transition from worlds of make-believe into reality.  

Poula Sitjar
thirteen, 4×3 ft, acrylic on canvas, 2023
seventeen, 4×3 ft, acrylic on canvas, 2023


As someone who has seen the potential for dolls as avenues for personal exploration and self-expression, Poula Sitjar coined the term “Womannequin” for her new series, merging “woman” and “mannequin.” Her solo show seeks to pose questions about the role of dolls in shaping a child into a woman through a series of paintings that chronicle the growth of her avatar alongside her doll. Each painting is titled to signify the fictional lady owner’s age of interaction with her doll, depicting the evolution of an emotional bond as time marches on.

For her debut show, Sitjar transforms her canvases into chapters of an almost-autobiographical book. Through her art, she reflects on the profound impact of both inanimate objects and real individuals, once mighty heroes in her imagination, who played pivotal roles in nurturing and raising her Womannequin. •

Artist Poula Sitjar

Womannequin is curated by Prim Paypon. The exhibit opened last October 21, 2023 and runs till November 3, 2023 at Ysobel Art Gallery, Taguig City, Metro Manila.

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