On Thursday, July 11th Art Starts and VIBE Arts joined forces to present an exhibition titled ‘Hair We Are’ at the Gardiner Museum. Shattering misconceptions around black hair, the exhibit took form as a contemporary beauty salon where visitors were able to view different hairstyles and textures and ask questions. The artists behind the work were participants of Art Starts’ Girls Mentorship Program and were led by artist Igho Diana of VIBE Arts.
Leading up to the exhibition, young women aged 13-19 were taught methods of self-care, hair care and storytelling in Art Starts’ OWN IT Girls Mentorship Program. Led by Program Manager Mia-Skye, this workshop series has proven to be a space safe for marginalized young girls to discuss important issues and channel their personal experiences through art.
The Hair We Are exhibition is a response to historical items already existing in the Gardiner that deconstructs the concept of beauty. The artists of Hair We Are were challenged to rethink a collection of European porcelains through their own artistic expression and lived experiences.
This project was also a way for the Gardiner to open itself up to a wider demographic and better connect with different communities outside your typical art crowd.
“It is important for the Gardiner as an institution to create partnerships with community arts organizations that are sustainable and not a one-off project. This practice allows the institution to learn how to create spaces that better serve community,” says Alejandra Higuera, Project Manager.
The launch was a chance for attendees to mingle with the artists and collaborators, and enjoy music and youth artist-led tours. The exhibition offered a fresh perspective on contemporary beauty and an exchange of empowering conversation.
Hair We Are ran from Thursday, July 11th to 24th as part of the Gardiner’s Community Arts Space: What we long for.
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