Joanne Petit-Frère

b. 1987, United States

#1. Reclaiming the Crown, 2017
3 min. 25 sec.
Edition of 8

Image courtesy Philip Martin Gallery, United States, & the artist

Petit-Frère makes films, drawings and labour-intensive tapestries and sculptures that involve weaving by hand as many as eight or more colors of synthetic hair. She regards hair braiding as a dying craft as machine-braided extensions become more common in American culture.

Many of Petit-Frère’s wall-works and sculpture are activated by performance, such as this one, Reclaiming the Crown.

Petit-Frère is part of an underground ‘conceptual hair’ scene in New York.  As such her practice is one rooted in the vernacular of the braid salon, with cultural theory and fine art practices combined.

As Petit-Frère comments, "We’re in the midst of a major movement now with consciousness of hair types, as well as art and imagery, being pushed to fantastical reaches in the digital era,” (Vogue, 2018).