Join us for a conversation between two artists about how the practice of hairwork speaks across centuries and cultures. Master jeweler/historian Karen Bachmann studies, creates and teaches the art and craft of Victorian hairwork, which became very popular in both jewelry and shadowbox form in the 19th and early 20th centuries when death rates were very high. Incorporating the hair of departed loved ones into jewelry and art, hairwork transformed a wearable human relic into a fashion statement.
Artist and RISD MFA candidate Nafis White creates her work from objects commonly found in beauty supply stores, industrial and irrigation components and the seemingly limitless horizons of our global and political landscapes. Drawing her inspiration from the rich Diaspora of experiences and traditions of Black beauty and self care built upon centuries of embodied knowledge that honors, celebrates, and values the innovation, technology and imagination carried through and passed on by the fingertips of Black people. Through play and continuous exploration, White employs her research on the intricate customs of Victorian hair weaving and appropriates them using Black hair, beauty products, and hairstyling techniques where they were never imagined to take up space and esteem.
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