The Hair Craft Project

Sonya Clark's avatar Sonya Clark

In a 1997 review of my work, Bill Gaskins wrote, “Hairdressing is the primordial fiber art.” I began the Hair Craft Project with his words in mind. Hairdressers are my heroes. The poetry and politics of Black hair care specialists are central to my work as an artist. Rooted in a rich legacy, their hands embody an ability to map a head with a comb and manipulate the fiber we grow into complex form. I reframed the mastery of these artists in a new context, the gallery. Each was supplied with my head of hair and a canvas hand stitched with silk thread. Their challenge was to demonstrate their expertise in a familiar medium, hair, and translate it into a less familiar one, thread on canvas. For the span of the project, I became a walking art gallery donning glorious hairstyles. The photographs document those hairstyles created specifically for the project while the canvases provide a permanent example of the craft. The collaborating stylists are Kamala Bhagat, Dionne James Eggleston, Marsha Johnson, Chaunda King, Anita Hill Moses, Nasirah Muhammad, Jameika and Jasmine Pollard, Ingrid Riley, Ife Robinson, Natasha Superville, and Jamilah Williams.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: variable
  • Medium: Photographs and Sewn Canvas
  • Width: variable
  • Year created: 2014
  • Height: variable