New this summer, an exhibit in the Parkway Central Library explores the history and meaning behind the hairstyles of African women. African Hair Styles: Culture and Consciousness features a range of artistic and historical objects, such as masks, photographs, and intricately carved sculptures. The exhibition highlights how women were able to communicate through their hair styles—letting others know which cultural group they came from, what their life position was, and what their status was within their cultural group. Women could also style their hair to communicate their marital status, their age, and how many children they had. As seen in the photographs and sculptures, the hairstyles are an artistic discipline that provides aesthetic beauty—not to mention acting as a source of admiration and pride for those who wear them. The exhibition also highlights how styles vary from village to village and how they evolve over time.
The exhibition, which will be on display in the west gallery through August 28, is presented by Herman Bigham & Associates: African Cultural Arts Preservers and Presenters.