I came up with the initial idea for the project, “Epic Hair, Everyday” after an encounter with two 4-year-old sisters a few years ago. Their unique Afro hairstyling appeared to me like sculptures – art objects – with their heads transformed into stages or platforms for display. Getting dressed as well as doing your hair are some of the most basic and mundane acts. Nevertheless, it is an epic moment when fashion is performed on the runway or a similar space of the display. In black hairstyling cultures, customers are often seated in front of the shop window: by fully demonstrating the process of hairstyling practice to an audience, the hairdressers together with the customers turn the everyday experience into an epic scene.
I also investigated black hairstyling culture, which then led me to examine the extraordinary scale and history of the hair trade in places like China and India, along with continuing my research on objects and perceptions. I was intrigued by the enormous amount of time, energy, money as well as the political power which were bound up in hair.
“Epic Hair, Everyday”, is an exploration of the connotations of black hairstyling culture. It seeks to challenge the ideologies of race and beauty within modern society and attempts to illustrate the entangled social, political and aesthetic power contained within everyday practices. By blurring the lines between the everyday self and a highly aestheticized (epic) object, I attempt to create a new visual vocabulary that challenges the audience’s accustomed ways of seeing.