Activist symbols and witty scenarios are woven into towering hair sculptures by Laetitia Ky

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#activism #books #hair

May 13, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

All images courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press, shared with permission

Laetitia Ky practices art activism by weaving African identity into hair sculpture. Born from the lack of representation she experienced growing up in the Ivory Coast, her practice began by cutting the silky straight locks of her Barbie doll heads and carefully re-sewing curly extensions as a child. In Love and justice, Ky’s towering sculptures are embedded in aspects of everyday life. She draws on the strength and durability of black hair texture to weave traditional instruments, regional wildlife and moving bodies into interactive portraits that capture the beauty in common aspects of culture across the continent.

Every image in this 200-page collection, published by Princeton Architectural Press, makes a statement. Ky explores the roots of this work through the creative form and design of traditional African colonialist hairstyles. She uses symbols in her sculptures to respond to the current struggle, such as a scale balancing gender icons on either side, a uterus with fallopian tubes turning into middle fingers, or stretch marks on a woman’s body. In her chapter on self-love, Ky’s images explore the joys of self-knowledge with acts such as playing a guitar made of hair, toasting a braided wine glass, or wrapping her neck with a life-sized hand offering the scent of a flower. †

Head over to Bookshop to buy this memoir that offers insight into the artist’s journey to embracing Black beauty, and check out her viral hair sculptures and portraits on Instagram.

#activism #books #hair

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