August 09, 2021 - September 17, 2021
NOT ANOTHER HAIR SHOW
Ever since the colonial encounter between Europe and Africa, African aesthetics such as hair and hairstyling practices and choices have been engulfed in a prolonged tussle where the beauty, texture, social relevance, and permeability of black hair is endlessly critiqued and questioned. The head and hairstyles of black women through various eras have been regarded as a tool of communication as well as a site of contention.
NOT ANOTHER HAIR SHOW emerges as an exhibition derived from the dissertation titled: HAIR POLITICS: AN EXAMINATION OF THE AESTHETICS OF BLACK FEMALE HAIR IN THE WORK OF SELECT AFRICAN ARTISTS. Written by Tshegofatso Seoka, the dissertation highlights the politics of black hair and hairstyling practices and choices, interrogating the dynamics of beauty within various socio-specific communities in Africa and the diaspora. The dissertation further discusses aspects of the black African emancipatory discourse, which develops as grand representations of blackness and black aesthetics, aggressively promoting a reductive narrative of mimicry where the specific hairstyles of black women are actively critiqued.
The dissertation further questions hegemony in the representation of blackness where singular modes of representing blackness are adopted as model. The model hegemonic representation in this case, is governed by the dichotomy of the natural vs processed and artificial hair that reveals itself within a competition of the preferred model image identity and the rejected alternative. The dissertation also attempts to illuminate black women’s hairstyles as manifest of real-time expressions of theorist Homi K Bhabha’s notion of third space where capitalism and globalisation aid in the proliferation of new hybrid identities performed through the preferred hairstyle.
The exhibition features an array of artworks stemming from multiple disciplines by contemporary South African artists, inclusive of sculpture, drawings, paintings, pyrography, photography, and digital illustrations, all reflective of the diverse nature of black women’s hairstyles. The exhibition aims to reflect the role of black women’s hair as a medium for creativity, a representation of social, economic, and political affiliations, source of pride, and an expression of freedom of choice. The exhibition further acclaims the ingenuity of black hairstyling manifested through the creation and the continual development of new, fascinating, dynamic techniques, choices, and practices of black hairstyling.
Achieved through the combination of traditional techniques with modern processes and materials, contemporary black women’s hairstyling techniques and choices emerge in such a way that new genres and unique arts are invented, continuously birthing new forms of representation and discoveries in the black hairstyling realm, evolving with every paradigm shift.
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