2nd Place; Baby Boom by Didier Bizet
Having first appeared in the United States in the 1990s, reborn is a hyper-realistic doll that resembles a newborn baby. Reborn artists go to great lengths to ensure that their creations are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Many reborns have birthmarks, veins, hair, visible skin pores, and even saliva. Markets for these dolls range from reborn artists and collectors to hospitals and adoptive mothers and fathers. The realism of a reborn is such that some medical centres use them to ease the suffering of clients with Alzheimer’s disease.
What motivates a woman, or a couple, to “adopt” a reborn - the word “buy” is frowned upon in these circles - varies. For some, there is the attraction of caring for a baby that shares their physical features, as well as the joy of dressing it, taking it out in a pram, or even decorating a room for the new arrival. For others, a reborn is an antidote to loneliness, particularly in an age dominated by online communication.
Reborns suffer from a bad reputation, with some suggesting they look like dead babies. For many, however, these dolls are sources of hope, wellbeing, and comfort. They may be fake babies, but the happiness, love and sense of sharing they provide is very real.