"Barbie Loves Israel" (photo credit: Enrico Pescantini and xx xx Callea)

“Barbie Loves Israel” (photo credit: Enrico Pescantini and xx xx Callea)

In 1977, there was a Ken doll on the market who spoke when the string on his tanned back was pulled, positing the following four conversational gambits:

“Barbie’s a great cook.”

“I’ll bring my guitar to the party.”

“C’mon, let’s dance!”

“Help me pack for my vacation.”

Clearly, Ken wasn’t taking Barbie along for his vacations at that time, but that’s changed now. Or at least it has in the vivid imaginations of photographer Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea, an Italian couple who staged Barbie and Ken’s fabulous Israel sojourn during their own vacation in Israel last August.

When planning their trip, Pescantini was living in Mumbai for work while his girlfriend, Callea, was back in their Italian hometown of Milan. Ahead of their August reunion in the holy land, Pescantini started thinking about what kind of photo shoot he could arrange in Israel.

Ken and his ticket to Israel (photo credit: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea)

Ken and his ticket to Israel (photo credit: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea)

The result was staging Barbie and Ken’s trip to the holy land — the alter egos, so to speak, of Pescantini and Callea, with the role of Pescantini played by an Indian ‘Ken’ doll. Now they’re taking their exhibit on the road, showing the photos in Italy, so far, and hopefully other cities worldwide, said Pescantini.

'Nazareth Arabesque' (photo credit: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea)

‘Nazareth Arabesque’ (photo credit: Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea)

“Israel was one of the trips we most wanted last year, and it didn’t disappoint us,” Pescantini wrote to the Times of Israel. “But we did get some strange looks at the airport when we were photographing ‘Ken.'”

The exhibit was recently written up in several Italian fashion magazines, including Italian Vogue and Marie Claire, as well as several tourist and fashionista blogs.

Like Pescantini and Callea, Barbie and Ken made it to Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Nazareth and the Dead Sea. But their favorite stop, at least according to one review in Vogue, was the surfers’ beach in Tel Aviv. Figures.

'In Tel Aviv, Life is a Beach' (photo credit: Enrico Pescaninin and Maria Giovanna Callea)

‘In Tel Aviv, Life is a Beach’ (photo credit: Enrico Pescaninin and Maria Giovanna Callea)

The ‘Barbie Loves Israel’ exhibit will be at the Kitsch Bar, Corso Sempione 5, Milan, through February 20.