The Quirky Barbie Pond on Avenue Q, Washington D.C.

The barbies expressing their solidarity during the Covid-19 pandemic

photography by: Ted Eytan/ Flickr

Reading time: minutes

For most of us, Barbie dolls are often perceived as a rather naïve trinket for toddlers. Be that as it may, one mysterious artist in the U.S capital managed to take the beloved toy out of its original context. For years on end now, an anonymous guy who goes by the name of Brent has been peppering a pint-sized pond on Q St NW with dozens of oddly-dressed barbies and kens, occasionally conveying a heated political message.

Since 1959, when they were first mass-produced, Barbie dolls have been a ubiquitous toy across America and much of the rest of the world as well. Over the decades, the small figurine was revered by youngsters for her ever-smiling face and seemingly unflawed appearance, making her a staple plaything that inspired songs, films and knickknacks, to name just a few.


In somewhat stark contrast, a far more irreverent type of creation sits humbly in Washington D.C. Nestled along Q Street NW in the city’s Logan Circle neighborhood, a small pond is now the epicenter of a Barbie-themed art installation which leaves passersby with a sense of puzzlement. Strewn around a murky puddle on an otherwise typical front-yard are myriads of Barbies alongside their male sidekicks, bare and clothed alike.


The brainchild of Brent, the pond’s exceedingly secretive curator who remains anonymous (presumably due to his governmental job), the Barbie-infested yard first came under the spotlight in 2014 when its creator opened an Instagram page where he frequently uploaded snapshots of the place.


With an ever-changing set of garments, or lack thereof, the dolls partake in multiple different displays, each of which typically correlates to a topical event, cultural, religious and more often than not, a political hot potato. For instance, in the months leading up to the 2016 US presidential election, a group of topless barbies holding “vote” signs was placed around a podium where a “First All-Female Ticket!” poster was glued.


During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the dolls were dressed as nurses while perching on a large-scale syringe, accompanied by oversized virions. Throughout the years, the pinkish figurines were also featured in a Halloween party, the pride month as well as the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.


According to Brent, this barbie frenzy started when one of his friends taped a couple of dolls to a birthday gift as a prank. Instead of throwing them away, Brent opted to scatter the barbies around a miniature pool in the nearby flowerbed. Thereafter, the pond has become a locally cherished tourist attraction, jestingly dubbed by its curator as a place that lowers Logan Circle property values since 2014.