Is it just us or are more and more artists using human hair as their medium than ever before? I thought when I stumbled upon a woman in the UK making hair necklaces that were to be featured in the Louvre, that it was a pretty rare point in my career. However, more and more I’m running across “human hair art.”
The newest artist to take up the craft is Sonya Clark who’s newest installation at the San Antonio Southwest School of Arts includes a bantu-knot Confederate flag, a cornrow chair and a wall-covering of Madam CJ Walker, the first African-American millionaire, made out of fine-toothed combs.
Clark, who according to the San Antonio Current would like to be a hairdresser in her next life, said, “Hairdresser’s art has agency – it walks around, you don’t have to go to a gallery to see it.”
Stuck in her non-hairdressing artistry, Clark indeed found another way to incorporate her love in her art.“The battle flag of the Confederacy is sewn through with black hair fibers; cornrows make the stripes, Bantu knots form the stars and stripes,” Clark said. The piece, she feels, takes the negative symbol of the confederate flag and transforms it.
Even the cornrow chair speaks volumes to a slave-ridden past. The cornrows are invisible from the front and are supposed to depict slave labor’s role in building the country as we know it, even if slavery’s role is invisible or was unacknowledged by those who held the power. In fact, “you could sit on the chair and be blissfully unaware of the back forty,” Clark told the San Antonio Current.
Some of her other work includes a Black hair necklace and a five-dollar bill featuring a natural haired Abe Lincoln.
So where does Clark get the hair? From herself, friends and family of course, making the hair art all that much more personal.
Check out more photos and the full story on the Confederate "Black Hair Flag" installation.
These days, hair is being sold on eBay for thousands of dollars, artists are featuring it in their artwork, and us over here at NaturallyCurly are dedicated our day jobs, and a vast majority of our night jobs, to promoting hair. These might not all be interrelated, but hair sure did take front and center in 2011. What's in store for 2012?
Let us know what you think about the hair art pieces, curlies!