Natural Nywele is a project I started in the Fall of 2017 which culminated in an Art Exhibit in December of 2018 at The Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville, Florida.
For details on hosting an exhibit please send your contact information to us via our CONTACT US page.
Thank you very much . . . . . . . Aaron
Hair, what a significant part of our identity. Almost from birth it is a defining characteristic of who we are. It is one of our first clues with little babies in figuring out whether to say “Ohhhh, HE’S so cute or SHE’S so cute”. From early childhood taking care of our hair is one of the first things we are taught. Pretty much right next to brush your teeth. “Boy, if you don't get in there and comb your hair . . . . “ I can still hear my mom’s voice in the back of my mind. As we get older we learn to “conform” to what society expects. Good girls wear their hair like this, nice boys comb their hair like that. “Good” hair looks like this and thus “Bad” hair looks like . . . But for some it’s not about conformity. It’s about heritage, beauty, pride, self-esteem, confidence and individuality. TV has told us for so long and so many times that long hair is pretty we’ve grown a once very tiny industry into a huge global empire of sorts. Everybody can have long hair now. Boats are bringing it in by the “boat load”. I have seen some unbelievably beautiful weave and extension hairstyles but for ME their is something “natural”, even sensuous about running your fingers through a woman's head, massaging, caressing and feeling her scalp. So that is what this project is about, my preference for “natural” hair. When I say “natural” the definition I chose to use was hair growing from your scalp, not bought, borrowed, sewn or glued in. In this project my goal was to explore, examine and showcase the beauty and diversity of our natural hair.
The word Nywele is a Swahili for "Hair". I chose to use Swahili as a part of the title because it is one of the native languages spoken in the region of Africa were many of our African-American ancestors were transported from.
The Images - Natural Nywele
To see the news segment from The Morning Show on Channel 4 with Melanie Lawson, click the link below.