Textures: The history and art of Black hair at the KSU Museum
TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair is a landmark exploration of Black hair and its important, complex place in the history of Afro-diaspora communities and cultures. On view at the Kent State University Museum, the exhibition features 180 paintings, sculptures, hair artifacts, photographs, advertisements, and magazines, along with a selection of hair products and implements from the collection of Willie Morrow, a pioneer of Black hair care. Organized into three themes—Community & Memory, Hair Politics, and Black Joy—the featured artists, barbers, and activists address Black hair in both its historical perceptions and its ramifications for self and society today. Throughout the life of the exhibition, on view until August 7, TEXTURES will incorporate community-focused public programming in partnership with artists and local barbershops and salons from the Northeast Ohio region. Online and within the exhibition, a “Digital Green Book” interactive, created in partnership with the KSU Wick Poetry Center, engages audiences with the historic and contemporary connotations of Black hair. Co-curated by Drs. Tameka Ellington and Joseph Underwood for the KSU Museum, TEXTURES is the first large-scale exhibition to synthesize new research in history, fashion, art, and visual culture to reassess the “hair story” of people of African descent.
“I have always been compelled to understand the disdain Black people had about their hair texture,” explained Ellington, former interim assistant dean of Kent State’s College of the Arts and associate professor in the School of Fashion. “I wanted to dive deeply into the root of that self-hate and try to offer a solution or means by which Black people can begin to heal.”
“The exhibition is ambitious in its scope, and we hope that it serves as a space where anyone, from any background, can ask questions, engage in a dialogue or just appreciate the incredible aesthetics of Black hair,” added Underwood, assistant professor of art history in Kent State’s School of Art. To see the exhibition content, educator resources, recorded programs, and artist interviews, please visit the exhibition website at texturesksumuseum.wordpress.com.
TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair is made possible by generous sponsors and awards, including Proctor & Gamble–My Black is Beautiful, Bank of America, L’Oréal–Dark & Lovely and Carol’s Daughter, and RevAir, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Humanities Council, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Leslie Royce Resnik, Dr. Geneva Damron, Greg Gilmore, and Kent State University partners and programs.
WORD SOUNDZ AND POWER: FROM SOUL TO CROWN, THE POETRY OF MWATABU S. OKANTAH | 6PM THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3
A CRITICAL CONVERSATION ABOUT THE HISTORY OF OWNERSHIP IN THE BLACK HAIR CARE INDUSTRY | 5PM MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21 VIA FACEBOOK LIVE
DANCING WITH THE DISTANCE | OPENING FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25
APRIL BEY: ART AND THE MILLENNIAL NATURAL HAIR MOVEMENT | NOON FRIDAY, MARCH 4 VIA ZOOM
A SYMPOSIUM FOR TEXTURES: THE HISTORY AND ART OF BLACK HAIR | THURSDAY & FRIDAY, APRIL 14 & 15
Events are free and open to the public.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY MUSEUM
515 Hilltop Drive
Kent, Ohio 44242
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