Gallery FIFTY ONE presents an exhibition celebrating the diversity, artistry and power of black women’s hair. The series ‘CROWNS: My Hair, My Soul, My Freedom’ of the American photographer Sandro Miller highlights the many ways in which black women embrace their freedom of choice and express their creativity through their hair, no matter the style or texture, whether they wear braids, locs, weaves, or whether they wear it natural or straightened. Miller asked each model to share her personal “hair story” with him. Working with a hair stylist and makeup artist, he could achieve a style of hair that the sitter had worn, or would be willing to wear out into the world today. Additionally, the selection of decorative backgrounds was inspired by and includes several African prints. The colorful and vibrant patterns were selected for each person based on their individuality and the shapes and colors in their hair.
Miller’s portraits are presented along the work of Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere (1930-2014), who spent his life documenting the Nigerian culture, and the local hairstyles in particular. The name, meaning and intended occasion of these ‘sculptures of a day’ were meticulously inventoried by the artist. Next to this documentary character, Ojeikere’s portraits also have a very high aesthetic quality. His sober and elegant photographs rightly put the elegant and monumental Nigerian hair creations in the spotlight.