TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair

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Friday, 10 September, 2021 - 12:00 am to Monday, 15 August, 2022 - 11:45 pm

Rockwell Hall
Broadbent Gallery

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. Combs, products, and implements from the collection of hair pioneer Willie Morrow are paired here with masterworks from artists including James Van Der Zee, Sonya Clark, Lorna Simpson, Mary Sibande and Zanele Muholi. Exploring topics such as the preferential treatment of straight hair, the social hierarchies of skin, and the power and politics of display, TEXTURES is a landmark exploration of Black hair and its important, complicated place in the history of African American life and culture. The exhibition is organized by the KSU Museum with co-curators, Joseph L. Underwood, assistant professor of art history at KSU and Tameka Ellington, associate professor at the School of Fashion at KSU.

View the Exhibition Website


TEXTURES Symposium

On April 14-15, 2022, the TEXTURES Symposium convened at the KSU Museum in conjunction with the exhibition TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair. 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. The keynote speakers for this symposium were Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, clinical psychologist and hairstylist, PsychoHairapy LLC, and Dr. Crystal Porter, hair scientist and president of Mane Insights, Inc. The full symposium schedule is available in the Symposium Program (PDF) and the event can be viewed on the KSU Museum's Youtube channel.

Watch the TEXTURES Symposium


TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair is made possible with the generous sponsorship of:


Corporate Logos for TEXTURES Lead, Presenting and Supporting Sponsors

Additional support from National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Humanities Council, the Ohio Arts Council, Callahan Foundation, KSU Global Understanding Research Initiative, the KSU Provost’s Office, KSU Dean’s Office of the College of the Arts, Leslie Royce Resnik, the KSU School of Fashion, KSU Pan-African Studies, KSU Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Geneva Damron, Colorist and Brand Ambassador Greg Gilmore, and Kent Area (OH) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication produced and distributed by Hirmer Verlag. To purchase the catalogue through the KSU Museum Store please order here.


Textures Exhibition Catalogue Cover


Clark Black Hair Flag

Sonya Clark, Black Hair Flag, 2010, Photo courtesy the artist


Van Der Zee Harlem

James Van Der Zee, Harlem, ca. 1940. Photo courtesy Tyler Fine Art, Melvin Homes Collection of African Art

Banner image: Tawny Chatmon, Heir/Present of God, 2017.  Photo Courtesy the artist

Ohio Arts Council logo