Politics of Hair


Trenzamientos / Hair bondings, 2017


For many racialized people, the experience of hair is marked by the notion of "bad hair". In my surroundings, hair that like mine, was thick and straight, was a synonym of indigenous "bad hair". Such hair when cut short becomes "trinchudo", hair that sticks up and stands defiantly even against the gel of aloe vera. It is voluminous hair that takes life of its own. By contrast, good hair was thin "fino" and slightly curled hair. And thus people modify their hair, curling it up and cutting volume away, not as a possible alternative, but as a way of "fixing" it. 
In my drawings these hair-dos come to life through the sculptural possibilities of thick and straight hair. In tracing these braidings I was trying to tie the lessons I had in the process of coming to understand the aesthetic politics of hair. This in order to think of a plural aesthetics that values the ways in which one has learned how to exist and how to make sense of one’s reality in the world. A reality in which parallel ways of existing take place in regards to: how one does their hair, what one likes, what one chooses to wear, what one thinks of as beautiful and valuable, what one finds funny, what one hears, how one talks, how one walks, one’s ideas of worthy knowledge, of healthy practices, or one’s ideas of fiction and fantasy.