Hairitage is a group exhibition exploring the role of Black hair in Black and African American identity and examines historical racial discrimination and contemporary significance of Black hair in the United States.
Through thematic exploration of identity, memory, community, racism, and resistance, the presented works offer a nuanced examination of the politics of Black hair and how deep rooted systems of oppression have shaped the prejudicial treatment of Black people from the slavery era to present-day America.
Adebunmi Gbadebo uses Black hair collected from people from the African Diaspora to investigate the complexities between land and memory in the American South. David Orrell's Taji series started as an exploration of his own identity and further developed into an inquiry of the role of Black hair in identity formation. While he was inspired by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere and his photographic exploration of unique hairstyles found throughout Africa, David's inquiry led to uncovering current systematic racism against Black people. Jade Rodgers highlights Black hair care practices that have been used for generations. Rogers pushes for a reclamation of power and self-worth, and against subjugation of the Black body. DeJeonge Reese's Hair Quilt is inspired by the history of quilts in African American culture and is a beautiful and powerful tribute to the ways in which they have used their hair and other cultural traditions to resist oppression and find freedom.
By highlighting the collective personal experiences of Black and African American artists and students at Pratt Institute in New York, Hairitage presents a common ground for addressing entangled histories. It celebrates ways people have reclaimed their hair as a symbol of pride and empowerment.
Favour Ritaro is a Nigerian curator whose practice explores ideas that challenge and enhance our understanding of the past. Her curatorial purview critically views representations of personal and cultural identities, nationhood, gender.
HAIRITAGE PERFORMANCE: HAIR UNMASKED - December 2, 2023, 4:00 pm