Beautifully decorated hair combs, outrageous wigs, meticulously braided jewelry, and a warm jumper made of hair. Wereldmuseum Rotterdam launches a new exhibition: Hair Power.
Hair is a particularly powerful material. Not only because it is fragile and strong at the same time, but also because it feels so intimate. Growing out of our skin, it is part of us. Although it often seems to lead a life of its own. It is not always how we want it to be, it elicits reactions from others. It retains a special power outside our bodies. In the new exhibition Hair Power, on view from 20 May 2022, the power and many symbolic meanings of hair are celebrated.
In Hair Power, the Wereldmuseum puts stories of people and their hair in the spotlight with contemporary and historical objects, art, design, and film. With unique contributions of various artists. Different hairstyles, decorations, wigs, and extensions are a form of communication and empowerment!
Extraordinary objects from the collection of the Wereldmuseum combine with contemporary works by leading artists and designers. For instance, a Papua New Guinean headdress of human hair, with beads and green beetle shields, stands alongside the exuberant work of celebrity wigmaker Tomihiro Kono. And a unique hat from Alaska, waterproof because of the threaded hair yarn, is shown next to a woven hair tapestry by Antonin Mongin.
Several photographers pay intimate tributes to people and their hair. In her series, New York-based artist Yelaine Rodriguez comments in her series on the complicated relationship between the colonized and the colonizer whilst celebrating the Afro Dominican spirituality. Sarojini Lewis from Rotterdam explores how her identity is perceived by the outside world – depending on her chosen hairstyle. And how she manages to free herself from these perceptions.
Hair Power for a better world
The exhibition starts from the personal. After that, it goes deeper into the influence that society has on the choices we make as individuals. Also when it comes to hair. In addition, Hair Power shows the many ways in which people use their hair on a large scale to create change and a better world together. Because a hairstyle becomes an icon for a political ideal and a social movement, or because hair as a residual material can contribute to a sustainable world. For example, as a sponge in an oil spill. Artist Clémence Hilaire creates the final piece of the exhibition exclusively for the Wereldmuseum. An impressive hair installation that reflects upon the exhibition as a whole.
May 20 to May 8, 2023.