The day I went to visit the "Making Strange" exhibit in the Fowler Museum, I also went to see "The Art of Hair in Africa." This exhibit displayed a variety of hair pins, sticks, combs, and ornaments that have been worn by African women of different class and tribe. The artist states that the use of certain hair pieces function as a form of social communication, to construct one's identity and culture. It was so interesting to see the large display cases with intricate ornaments that were all selectively grouped and labeled. The pieces were grouped based on material (brass, copper), what the ornament represented (wealth, social status), and many other characteristics. The film that was on display, "Me Broni Ba" (My White Baby) displays the importance of hair and hair styling within Africa, as well as throughout the world. I do agree that hair styles are characteristic of time period, such as an afro perm for the 1970s or the bob for the current decade. However, I did not entirely agree with the artists statement that hair-dos signify information about the wearer. That may hold true in Africa with women wearing different types of hair ornaments; however, in America, I feel like people it is hard to judge a person's identity based on their hairstyle.
(photo credit: me)