Professor Devan Shimoyama‘s work is part of the exhibition “Textures,” on view at the Kent State University Museum through August 7, 2022.
“Textures” synthesizes research in history, fashion, art, and visual culture to reassess the “hair story” of peoples of African descent. Long a fraught topic for African Americans and others in the diaspora, Black hair is here addressed by artists, barbers, and activists in both its historical perceptions and its ramifications for self and society today. Combs, products, and implements from the collection of hair pioneer Willie Morrow are paired with masterworks of artists including James Van Der Zee, Sonya Clark, Lorna Simpson, Mary Sibande and Zanele Muholi. Exploring topics such as the preferential treatment of straight hair, the social hierarchies of skin, and the power and politics of display, “Textures” is a landmark exploration of Black hair and its important, complex place in the history of African American life and culture.