In “The Hair Craft Project” artist Sonya Clark highlights the work of 12 hairstylists from the Richmond, Virginia area. The stylists include Kamala Bhagat, Dionne James Eggleston, Marsha Johnson, Chaunda King, Anita Hill Moses, Nasirah Muhammad, Jameika and Jasmine Pollard, Ingrid Riley, Ife Robinson, Natasha Superville, and Jamilah Williams.
Portraits of each stylist’s work feature prominently in the project’s installation. They were also each given individual silk woven canvases to work with, in order to craft original hairstyles using thread.
Hairdressers are my heroes. The poetry and politics of Black hair care specialists are central to my work as an artist and educator. Rooted in a rich legacy, their hands embody an ability to map a head with a comb and manipulate the fiber we grow into complex form. These artists have mastered a craft impossible for me to take for granted.
Almost two decades ago, in a review of my work, Bill Gaskins wrote, “Hairdressing is the primordial fiber art.” I began the Hair Craft Project with his words in mind.
The project bridges boundaries between hair salons and art galleries as sites of aesthetics, craft, skill, improvisation, and commerce.