PHOTO GALLERY: Barbie & Ken love Israel

Currently on show in Milan is a pop-up photography project where an Italian couple use their iconic dolls as “alter egos” while on vacation in Israel.


Iconic children’s dolls Barbie and Ken took a well-deserved break from keeping kids around the world entertained and took a vacation in Israel lat summer. And they have the photos to prove it.

Barbie and Ken: Tel Aviv beach

Barbie and Ken: Tel Aviv beach – Photo: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea

Barbie and Ken are in fact the alter egos of Italian couple Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea and the so-called holiday snaps are the final result of a pop-art project the two undertook during a vacation last August, aptly called “Barbie Loves Israel.”

Barbie and Ken: Jerusalem of Gold – Photo: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea

Barbie and Ken: Floating in Dead Sea – Photo:Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea

The art project – which depicts photos of Barbie and Ken dolls taking in the sites of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and venturing out to the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi as well as exploring Nazareth – has been turned into an exhibition and is currently on display at a popular bar in Milan. The exhibition has also been featured in the Italian editions of popular fashion magazines such as Vanity Fair and Vogue.

At the time of the trip, Enrico, a telecommunications expert and keen photographer, was living in Mumbai, and Maria, who works in advertising, was living in Milan. And so, after some deliberation, the two settled on Israel as the destination for their vacation, Maria tells The Jerusalem Post.

Barbie and Ken: Taking in the views – Photo: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea

Israel may not seem the obvious choice for a couple separated by distance to meet, but Maria explains that they chose the Holy Land because “we were fascinated and attracted by the idea of discovering a mix of different cultures, landscapes, religions and people.”

Maria stresses that there is no “special” message behind this project. “Our idea was to have ‘alter egos’ that represent us,” she explains. “Ken came from Mumbai and Barbie from Milan and they met in Tel Aviv to begin their road trip together,” the story goes. “These are just the pictures of their holiday, without any political or commercial purpose.”

Barbie and Ken: Jeep ride in the desert – Photo: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea

A lot of thought went into using Barbie and Ken as alter egos, Maria says. “Barbie and Ken are the two perfect characters to portray our trip; they are realistic, they have amazing clothes and different accessorizes, very close to our world.”

The couple was surprised by the positive response their exhibition received in Milan, but have no immediate plans to take “Barbie Loves Israel” anywhere else. And while they don’t have a similar project lined up for their next vacation, Maria says they are considering the possibility.


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