I recently Zoomed Kent State University museum’s excellent research in history, fashion, art, and visual culture to reassess the “hair story” of peoples of African descent with KSU Museum with co-curators, Joseph L. Underwood, assistant professor of art history at KSU and Tameka Ellington, associate professor at the School of Fashion at KSU.
To say, I felt seen during the webinar would be a massive understatement.
The talk explored topics such as the preferential treatment of straight hair, the social hierarchies of skin, and the power and politics of display.
Black hair has long been an visual signifier that has been leveraged, disdained, celebrated, and scrutinized for centuries.
I have been studying exhibition photos on the website. The shape of the combs, product packaging, and masterworks from artists including Sonya Clark, Lorna Simpson, Mary Sibande and Lina Iris Viktor have left me truly inspired to dig out some unfinished rope hair pieces I stashed away at the beginning of the Pandemic.