Long-Awaited 'TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair' Opening Sept. 10 at the Kent State University Museum

Femme Totem Blue, 2018, by Masa Zodros. Unique digital photograph 17.5 inches by 30 inches
The Kent State University Museum is thrilled to announce the opening of its long-awaited exhibition “TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair.” Already gaining national and international attention, “TEXTURES” opens Sept. 10 and is a landmark exploration of Black hair and its important, complex place in the history of African American life and culture. 

The exhibition’s 180 paintings, sculptures, hair artifacts, photographs, advertisements, magazine covers and other media are organized into three themes: Community & Memory, Hair Politics and Black Joy. Black hair is addressed by artists, barbers and activists in both its historical perceptions and its ramifications for self and society today. “TEXTURES” will include hair products and implements from the premier collection of Willie Morrow; community-focused public programming in partnership with artists, local barbershops and salons from the region; and interactives to engage audiences with the historic and contemporary connotations of Black hair, created in partnership with Kent State’s Wick Poetry Center. The exhibition runs through Aug. 7, 2022.

Organized by the Kent State University Museum with co-curators and Kent State professors Tameka Ellington, Ph.D., and Joseph Underwood, Ph.D., “TEXTURES” synthesizes new research in history, fashion, art and visual culture to reassess the “hair story” of people of African descent. It is accompanied by a 200-page catalogue published and distributed by Hirmer Publishers.

“I have been researching the phenomenon of Black hair since 2002,” explained Ellington, former interim assistant dean of Kent State’s College of the Arts and associate professor in Kent State’s School of Fashion. “I have always been compelled to understand the disdain Black people had about their hair texture. I wanted to dive deeply into the root of that self-hate and try to offer a solution or means by which Black people can begin to heal.”

“The exhibition is ambitious in its scope, and we hope that it serves as a space where anyone, from any background, can ask questions, engage in a dialogue or just appreciate the incredible aesthetics of Black hair,” added Underwood, assistant professor of art history in Kent State’s School of Art.

“TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair” is made possible with the generous sponsorship of: P&G-My Black is Beautiful, Bank of America, L’Oreal-Dark & Lovely and Carol's Daughter, and RevAir, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Humanities Council, the Callahan Foundation, Kent State’s Global Understanding Research Initiative, Kent State’s Office of the Provost, Dean’s Office of Kent State’s College of the Arts, Leslie Royce Resnik, Kent State’s School of Fashion, Kent State’s Department of Africana Studies, Kent State’s Research and Sponsored Programs, Geneva Damron, Ph.D., colorist and brand ambassador Greg Gilmore, and the Kent Area (Ohio) Chapter of The Links Inc.

Full statements from co-curators Tameka Ellington, Ph.D., and Joseph Underwood, Ph.D., are available upon request.

About the Kent State University Museum
The Kent State University Museum is located at 515 Hilltop Drive, at the corner of East Main Street and South Lincoln Street in Kent, Ohio. It features more than 29,000 pieces in its collection, amassed from many generous donors. The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in person at the museum or in advance through the museum’s online ticketing service. At this time, the Kent State University Museum is requiring everyone to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status.

Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children ages 5 to 17. The museum is free for children under 5 and for those with a Kent State ID. Sunday admission is free for all ages. Parking is free for all museum attendees. Patrons should use the allotted museum spaces in the Rockwell Hall parking lot. For more information, please call 330-672-3450 or visit www.kent.edu/museum

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Masa Zodros
Femme Totem Blue, 2018
Unique digital photograph
17.5 x 30 in.


Media Contact:
Anna Mates, College of the Arts, amates@kent.edu

POSTED: Thursday, August 26, 2021 02:08 PM
UPDATED: Friday, December 09, 2022 03:44 PM