TEXTURES Exhibition Receives Arts Alive Award for Collaborative Project
The Kent State University Museum exhibition “TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair” has been awarded the Arts Alive award for Collaborative Project for 2022.
The exhibition was co-curated by Dr. Joseph Underwood, associate professor of art history, and Dr. Tameka Ellington, former associate professor of fashion and interim assistant dean for the College of the Arts. It is accompanied by a 200-page catalog, which is now in its third printing, published and distributed by Hirmer Publishers. The catalog essays were written by the co-curators alongside contributing authors and scholars Dr. Ingrid Banks, Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, Dr. Zoé Samudzi, and Lori L. Tharps, with a foreword by KSU Museum Director Sarah Rogers. Additionally, art education faculty members Juliann Dorff and Dr. Linda Hoeptner Poling created the educator resources for K-12 teachers along with M.A. art education graduate student Christina Timmons.
“TEXTURES” synthesizes research in history, fashion, art and visual culture to reassess the “hair story” of peoples of African descent. Long a fraught topic for African Americans and others in the diaspora, Black hair is here addressed by artists, barbers and activists in both its historical perceptions and its ramifications for self and society today.
Another component to the “TEXTURES” exhibition was the two-day symposium held on April 14-15, 2022, at the KSU Museum. The symposium surrounded the exhibition themes and convened thinkers and creators from a variety of backgrounds to discuss, engage and celebrate ideas pertaining to Black history, hair, beauty and culture. Additionally, other programs and events have taken place at the museum and online to continue the conversations surrounding the history and art of Black hair. Programming included artist lectures, critical conversations about the Black hair care industry and a multimedia exploration of healing and transformation rendered in music and poetry. All of these events surrounding the exhibition can be viewed on the exhibition website.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum and Wick Poetry Center launched the "Digital Green Book." This collaboration extends Wick’s series of innovative interactions known as the Listening Wall and Emerge poems that inspire creative connections between individuals and content. The subjects of the "Digital Green Book" are barbers and stylists living and working in Northeast Ohio, and related text from the "TEXTURES" exhibition. The project was inspired by Victor Hugo Green’s "Negro Motorist Green Book," produced between 1936 and 1966, to provide African Americans a resource as they traveled across America in the era of Jim Crow. The Digital Green Book is accessible on the museum website, "Digital Green Book," as well as on iPads in the exhibition galleries.
TEXTURES is on view at the museum through Aug. 14, 2022.