Using research that draws on traditional African material culture and practices in the Americas, an exhibition featuring architecture, design, and art inspired by Black hair is on view at the University of Houston.
Hair Salon showcases Black diasporic hair practices and investigates the material properties of Black hair as a springboard for new technologies in architecture.
“Very little African material culture survived the Trans-Atlantic slave trade,” said Sheryl Tucker de Vazquez, instructional associate professor Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design and interim director of the interior architecture program. “But the unique material properties of Black hair, more than any other genetic trait, signifies Blackness, and Black hair care practices are a vibrant, living inheritance throughout African diasporic cultures.”
De Vasquez uses metal and fabric to recreate the materiality of Black hair. Other pieces explore joining used in African threading, twisting, locking, and braiding.
For the exhibition, de Vasquez’s collaborated with Marcella del Signore, director of graduate studies in architecture, urban, and regional planning at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT); Tatiana Teixeira, instructor at NYIT; William D. Williams, associate professor of architecture at the University of Cincinnati; Felecia Davis, Pennsylvania State University associate professor of architecture and director of Softlab; Dijana Handonović, assistant professor of interior architecture at UH; Medina Dugger, photographer; Francois Beaurain, photographer/multi-media artist; and Rabéa Ballin, professor of art at Lone Star College.
Hair Salon opened February 2 at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design and runs through the end of the month. More information on the exhibition, hours, and visiting can be found here.