Nafis M. White Oculus - Purple/Black/Gray/Crimson/Blonde, 2019 Hair, Embodied Knowledge, Ancestral Recall, Audacity of Survival, Bobby Pins Purchase with funds provided by Karl and Teryn Weintz and the Museum Purchase Fund, Newport Art Museum 2021.001.001

The Newport Art Museum today announced a new exhibition, “Hair Stories,” which will be on view to the public from Saturday, July 17 through October 31, 2021.

Hair is more than just the threadlike growth in human beings. It has played important roles in culture, religion, politics, ritual, and identity throughout history and in the present day. In some cultures, hair is a source of strength or a sign of femininity, virility, and beauty. How it is cut, styled, treated, and kept embodies individual and cultural values. At times, it has been the subject of cultural and political conflicts. It is both symbolic and personal.

Bringing together a diverse group of artists whose work focuses on hair or uses hair as a medium, this show explores the multifaceted meanings of hair today. From hair jewelry and lockets that fetishize hair to photographs, sculptures, and video works that celebrate hair, this show examines the ways in which hair functions as a complex set of codes and as the loaded raw material for artistic expression. Themes include history, narrative, loss and mourning, and identity (cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identity). Featured artists include: Eunice Adorno, Melanie Bilenker, Tara Bogart, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Sonya Clark, Sean M. Johnson, Nneka Kai, Vivian Keulards, Wangui Maina, Ana Mendieta, Patricia Miranda, Zanele Muholi, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Rachel Portesi, Shahzia Sikander, Lorna Simpson, Gu Wenda, Nafis M. White, Anne Wilson, and D.M. Witman.

“Hair Stories” was made possible with the generous support of the West Bay Foundation, Steven and Ellen Bowman, Chas A. Miller III and Birch Coffey / Charles A. and Lois H. Miller Foundation, Cleo and Michael Gewirz, Susan and George Petrovas, and Dwight and Susan Sipprelle.For more information, visit newportartmuseum.org.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...