My curiosity with African-American hair culture first started when I opted out of the process of chemically straightening my own. By choosing to wear my hair in it’s natural state I made a political decision, that at the time, was not my intention. My “new” hair quickly exposed my ignorance about this piece of my body and its complex history in American culture. Through the years, that act of chopping off my hair has led me down an ongoing path of self-discovery and self-awareness, in respect to how I choose to identify myself. That process has been the impetus for the latest string of photographs I have created within the past year or so. African-American hair culture and politics are fascinating, controversial, and absolutely relevant subjects even more so now that I have a beautiful little girl of my own.
I like to think of my work as inclusive to all Black hair styles/types - kinky, straight, synthetic, human, weaves, wigs, and tracks, because we as collective wear sport all. It’s in our beauty shops, hair salons, and bathroom cabinets. It’s a part of our history. It’s a part of contemporary culture. It’s a part of our conversations. It’s a part of our daily lives. I’ve been told many times “your hair is your face”, so it’s something that we must tend to, and care for. It’s something that we must treat with sensitivity when describing, but should not allow it to incite insecurities. In my eyes, it’s the single most visible and powerful feature on the black female form and I enjoy creating work about it because it is so dynamic. I make photos that display the illusory beliefs of beauty in a visually stimulating way. I want them to be a catalyst for discussion about us and our experiences.
CALL FOR ARTWORK: The Photographic Self (pdf)
Exhibition Dates: September 6 - October 24, 2013
Invitation to all women artists worldwide to submit photography and photo-based work depicting the ‘Self’ (the work does not necessarily have to be a traditional portrait or self-representation. This exhibition is open to any form of photography, including traditional processes, digital and video. Also encouraged is artwork in other mediums- for example, artist books, sculpture, mixed media – where photography is an intrinsic element.
Online Entries Submit jpgs of up to three of your works on our website.
Mailed Entries Mail slides or cd with images of up to three of your works, completed entry form, and a $30 entry fee to Woman Made Gallery, 685 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642.
Juror: Carla Williams is a writer, editor, and photographer. She is author of numerous essays and articles about photography and is co-author of two histories of photography, including The Black Female Body: A Photographic History with Deborah Willis. Williams is Assistant Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology and is editor of the Chroma book series for the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Final Entry Deadline: July 3, 2013
Notifications: July 17, 2013