Hair and Identity – within certain cultures hair and hairstyles have particular meanings.

1. Hair and Identity – within certain cultures hair and hairstyles have particular meanings.

Within a contemporary context social status, by some, is also determined by the kind of weave that you wear – i.e. Brazilian or Indian hair is considered to be more superior than natural hair or an afro.

2. &nb sp; Hair as Power – certain hairstyles are ‘reserved’ for people within particular positions – for instances judges and magistrates wear particular wigs and sangomas and diviners also have particular wigs that they wear.

3. Hair as Material – there are several objects that are made from hair itself, such as removable hair caps from Karamoja, Uganda. There are also objects which have hair attached to them such as Zulu wedding hats. This section also examines contemporary artists who make use of their own hair within their work – using both their own hair and that of their loved ones. What ties these threads together is the notion that hair is an extension of the body, of the person, making it an important material to commemorate or control people.

4. Barbershops and Barbershop posters – The focus of this section is on the visual culture and heritage space of the barbershop space. This component of the exhibition really speaks to the male side of hair styling with certain styles being coveted by men because they are the hairstyle of a sports star or a celebrity.


5. Historical objects that speak to hair – there are several historical items such as ancient hair combs and hair pins, from various parts of the African continent that date back to the late nineteenth century. These combs were used for decorative purposes – as hair accessories.

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For the exhibition Wits Art Museum (WAM) is working with young, upcoming curators – who, along with the WAM team, have been responsible for compiling the content and the subject matter of the exhibition. The exhibtion is also em powering young people within the arts industry and giving them the opportunity and the platform to be part of an exhibtion at the Wits Art Museum.

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