In the new exhibition Hair Power, the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam celebrates the power and many symbolic meanings of hair, on view from 9 July 2022 until 8 may 2023.
In Hair Power, the Wereldmuseum puts stories of people and their hair in the spotlight with contemporary and historical objects, art, design and film through unique contributions of various artists. On the basis of several themes, the exhibition brings forward the stratification of our hair. Via identity and beauty, for instance. Who decides what beautiful hair is? Where do these ideals of beauty come from?
Different hairstyles, decorations, wigs and extensions are a form of communication. With countless underlying messages. For example, we communicate which ideals we stand for or which ideals of beauty we embrace. With our hair, we express ourselves. It can even empower us!
More than a hairstyle
Hair. An extremely powerful material. Not only because it is fragile and strong at the same time, but also because it feels so intimate. Growing out of our skin, hair is part of us. Although it often seems to lead a life of its own: it is not always how we want it to be, it elicits reactions from others, and retains a special power outside our bodies. Personal and valuable objects show that hair retains a special power and intimacy even when detached from our bodies, precisely because it was once part of ourselves. Like a lock of hair from a loved one in a piece of jewellery or a necklace made of braids, donated by several women.
Hair for a better world
The exhibition starts from the personal, to go deeper into the influence that the society we live in has on the choices we make as individuals. Also, when it comes to hair. In addition, Hair Power shows the many ways in which people use their hair on a large scale to create change and a better world together. Because a hairstyle becomes an icon for a political ideal and a social movement, or because hair as a residual material can contribute to a sustainable world. For example, as a sponge in an oil spill.
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