Afro Centric is a celebration of artistry in Black hair culture. It symbolizes the physical transformation of the outward appearance in order to make a statement. This statement moves beyond natural physical attributes and traditional “rules” about hairstyle and texture and often conveys political attitudes within micro-social structures.
Media: Synthetic hair, handmade paper made of recycled paper and human hair, thread, linen cord, unknown commercial paper.
Structure: Circular Coptic binding
Bad Hair addresses the issue of what is acceptable regarding hairstyle and texture. It is based on early struggles that many women of African descent underwent in order to gain acceptance of their natural (i.e. non-chemically altered) hair in the workplace.
Though most of the women’s styles were based on a fusion of traditional western and African hairstyles (ex. A braided bob style), the styles were considered unacceptable for work. In many cases, the women were either asked to change their hairstyle or were fired. Bad Hair features text from editorials and quotes relating to those who brought suit for being terminated by their employers.
Size: 7” W x 10” x 1.5” 14” x 7” (open)
Media: Paper, canvas, graphite
Structure: Altered book with flag book insert
At a very young age, many Black women in particular receive messages that their hair in its natural state falls outside the accepted standard of beauty. Though natural hair is currently accepted in broader circles, and straight hair is just another option, the underlying message often remains that natural hair is unacceptable.
This book features excerpts of conversations with women about their hair straightening experiences including some of my own. The book is constructed of commercial papers, digital and letterpress type, synthetic hair, wood and a hot comb.
Size: 11” H x 14”x1” 5”x 7”
Media: Paper, wood, synthetic hair, hot comb
Structure: Carved wooden tablet with synthetic hair and hot comb inclusion; Accordion book
Many pre-20th century homes lacked built in closets and furniture, such as armoires and dressers and cabinets were used to store clothing. Closets, by their very nature are memory keepers – even in the sparest environment they reveal something about the owner, and in cases where generations of owners have used them, closets can function as historical records. [cont.]
As a child, the opportunity to peek into my grandmother’s armoire was exhilarating – her armoire, like all closets seemed intensely personal and off limits. A look was usually accompanied by a story that brought to life persons unknown but not forgotten. Years later, my grandmother long gone, the armoire remains a repository of memory, culture, history, and tradition.
Size: 11”H x 9.5” x 2.75" (closed); 11” x 9.5” x 7.5” (open)
Media: Mahogany, metal, fabric (cotton), commercial papers (cotton rag), thread, batting, graphite
Structure: Wooden box containing 2 mounted photos, 2 accordian books, and 1 scroll book
Air considers intelligence (thought) and memory (identity). The text weaves three "stories" -- the background (large text) features the idea of creating the book Air. The background "idea" coalesces in the center of the book and takes flight in the tulle "cloud."
The idea goes from background (graphite) to foreground (thread). The second story is about air as breath and wind. This story winds itself around the other two throughout the book. The third story is a series of vignettes featuring more concrete memories (freedom, wind, breath, flight) and are represented by the text “patches”.
Size: 10” W x 9.5” x 1.5” (closed); 21.5” x 9.5” x 1.5 (open)
Media: Silk (organza, net, organza satin), cotton (mull), thread (metal, cotton), graphite, inkjet, gouache, incense, button, tulle
I am interested in personal stories as they are often singular and universal. Island Girl re-tells a story of longing, rejection, acceptance and pride that my mother, who grew up on the False River in Louisiana, often told us.
Island Girls consists of cotton, digital prints and type, buttons and thread.
Size: 11” H x 15”
Media: Recycled cotton cloth, button, thread
Structure: Dress with pamphlet bound cloth pages inserted into skirt