Sonya Clarke

b. 1967, United States

Hair Craft Project with Ingrid, 2014
Pigment print on archival paper
29x29 inches
Edition of 10

Image courtesy Goya Contemporary Gallery, United States, & the artist
This photograph is from a series in which Clarke invited a range of hairdressors to enact their creativity on the artist’s hair. As such the artist is the subject, though seen from behind this might not be obvious to the viewer. Clarke wanted the focus to be on the ‘other’ artist – the hairdressors whom use hair as their medium of expression. These artists are shown in the background of the image.

Clarke views hair as a textile, or a sort of canvas upon which narratives, history and ancestry can be communicated.

“My artwork draws from the legacy of crafted objects as a means to honor my ancestors. I create objects and installations, perform actions, and engage others in artistic collaborations. The work utilizes the language of textiles, politics of hair, and material substance of objects to celebrate and create community, restore historical imbalances, and highlight injustices. My research methodologies include highlighting erasures in history using the most quotidian objects (a strand of hair, a comb, a bead), breaking down barriers between who can participate in the art and how, and finding connections between people and cultures. I use materials to measure histories and amplify what is obscured, hidden, or whispered,” writes Clarke.