West African Hair Exhibit
Black hair has been an integral aspect African-American history from African tribal styles to dreadlocks and the afro. An upcoming exhibit at St. Mary’s Academy will investigate the significant role that black hair has had upon culture and the world.
A partnership between the school and Southern University at New Orleans Center for African & African American Studies, the Reclaiming Our Heritage: Traditional West African Coiffure exhibit will be held in the library at St. Mary’s Academy November 7 –December 2018. Curated by SUNO assistant professor Connie Abdul-Salaam, the exhibit will educate students, faculty, and others of the historical aspects of traditional West African coiffure from before the slave trade to the unique modern styles we see today worn on women, men, and children.
“Long before Europeans came to the African continent, a lot of time was spent grooming, maintaining, and styling hair for certain occasions such as weddings and other rituals,” said Abdul-Salaam adding that traditional African coiffures also indicated ethnic group, ranking and marital status. “The West African slave trade to the Americas forced Africans to abandon the skills that once gave them a dignified obligation to adorn and beautify themselves, especially their hair.”
The exhibition will present an array of photos, combs, masks, statues and other artifacts and may be viewed between the hours of 9:00AM-12:00PM and by appointment. For more information, please contact Michelle Ochillo at 504-245-0200 ext. 123.