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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

 

ARCHIVED EXHIBITION

 

 

South Lecture Room

Discover the extraordinary 6,000-year history of African hair combs in this joint exhibition between the Fitzwilliam Museum and Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Cambridge.

Traditionally playing an important role in creating, maintaining and decorating hair-styles for both men and women, this exhibition traces forms and motifs of the afro comb over time and space, as the African Diaspora grew. Recent developments are explored with objects like the 20th century ‘black fist’ comb and an investigation of current hair-styling practices in Jamaica, bringing together archaeological and anthropological questions to tell the story of this vital cultural tradition.

 

 

 

At the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology the story is brought to the present day with three connected contemporary art installations by artist and writer Michael McMillan called My Hair. The installations show the development of the global black hair industry, the politicising and popularisation of Afros and Dreadlocks, and bring to life the ‘Cottage Salon’ in the Home, The Barber Shop and The Hairdressing Salon. Explaining black hair culture, styling and politics as we know it today, the installations are complemented by a film showing different hands styling hair, and a series of soundbites, which can be heard by sitting under one of the hairdryers.

Visit the project website at http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/gallery/afrocombs, designed to include your contributions, whether you use afro combs today, are interested in the impact of hairstyling, or simply admire the combs as beautiful objects.

For further information on events accompanying this exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology and The Fitzwilliam Museum, see below.

 

 

Origins of the Afro Comb: Events Programme

 

These events will now take place at The Fitzwilliam Museum where the exhibition continues until 3 November.

Many are free and open to all. Events include discussions about the exhibition, shared experiences relating to hair and the opportunity to handle some of the objects in the exhibition.

Talks
Free

Wednesday 10 July, 13:15 – 14:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
An introduction to Origins of the Afro Comb

Sally-Ann Ashton, Assistant Keeper of Antiquities, The Fitzwilliam Museum

Wednesday 28 August, 13:15 – 14:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
‘No Smiling Please’: Northcote Thomas’ ethnographic portraits of southern Nigeria

Jocelyn Dudding, Photographic Collections Manager, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Saturdays 6 July & 14 September, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
Natural hair past & present

Sandra Gittens, Author and Lecturer with a specialism in African Caribbean Hair

Saturday 13 July, 14:00 – 16:00, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Afro picks and hot iron combs modern black hair styling

Michael McMillan, Freelance Writer, Artist and Curator

Saturday 3 August, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
Press and curl: Imitating or embracing fashion

Sandra Gittens, Author and Lecturer with a specialism in African Caribbean Hair

Saturday 21 September, 14:00 – 16:00, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Good Hair/Bad Hair: Black hair culture, style and politics

Michael McMillan, Freelance Writer, Artist and Curator

Saturday 12 October, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
The use of wigs and extensions in Afro hairdressing

June Forbes, Freelance Hairdresser and Afro Hair Consultant

Presented as part of Black History Month

Drop-In
Free unless otherwise stated

Tuesday 13 August, 13:15, The Fitzwilliam Museum
Art Speak

Enjoy half an hour looking at and talking about art in the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition. Meet at Courtyard Entrance.

Tuesdays 16 July & 6 August, 14:00 – 16:00, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Hair braiding demos

Join us in the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology for demonstrations of styling and braiding by expert hairdresser Lorraine Dublin.

Saturdays 20 July & 24 August, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
Black hair stories

Hear a selection of personal audio recordings about black hair, collected for the Origins of the Afro Comb website. In response to the recordings join discussions on topics such as cultural politics and iconic moments, including: my first hair style, bad hair days and geri-curl nightmares. Attendees will be invited to bring in a personal hair styling product/instrument and to share oral stories about their own hair experiences. Workshop led by Michael McMillan, Freelance Writer, Artist and Curator.

Booking essential. to register your interest please contact 01223 332904 or email fitzmuseumeducation@lists.cam.ac.uk. Places will be confirmed on receipt of payment.

Saturdays 27 July & 17 August, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
How to braid hair

Learn hair braiding and cornrow techniques with Portia Louis, who has over 10 years experience working with natural African type hair. Suitable for people who have no practice at plaiting and those who want to build upon what they already know.

£5.00 per person. Booking essential. To register your interest please contact 01223 332904 or email fitzmuseumeducation@lists.cam.ac.uk. Places will be confirmed on receipt of payment.

Object handling sessions

An opportunity to look in more detail at some of the pieces in the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition.

Saturday 13 July, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum

Thursday 18 July, 14:00 – 16:00, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Saturdays 10 & 17 August, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum

Saturday 14 September, 12:00 – 14:00, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Saturday 12 October, 12:00 – 14:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum

Presented as part of Black History Month

Young People and Families

Tuesday 30 July, 10:30 – 12:30, The Fitzwilliam Museum
Bring your own comb! Ages 5-7 (children must be accompanied by an adult)

Bring your own comb and join us for a hunt around the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition. K. N. Chimbiri, author of the exhibition’s children’s book, will reveal fascinating and beautiful combs used over generations.

£5.00 per child. Booking essential. To register your interest please contact 01223 332904 or email fitzmuseumeducation@lists.cam.ac.uk. Places will be confirmed on receipt of payment.

Tuesday 30 July, Ages 8 – 11 (accompanied by an adult)
Wednesday 31 July, Ages 12+
13:30 – 16:45, Starts at the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology and ends at The Fitzwilliam Museum
African comb workshop

Discover 6,000 years of art & culture through the fascinating and beautiful combs on display in the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition, followed by a practical hands-on activity. Led by K. N. Chimbiri, author of the exhibition’s children’s book.

£5.00 per child. Booking essential. To register your interest please contact 01223 332904 or email fitzmuseumeducation@lists.cam.ac.uk. Places will be confirmed on receipt of payment.

Special Events

Presented to coincide with Black History Month

28 September, 14:00 – 16:00, The Fitzwilliam Museum
Kickin’ it with the Kinks

A special screening of this symbolic film, which explores the complexities of haircare among women of African descent. Followed by Q & A with Cynthia Butare (film Producer) and Mundia Situmbeko (co-founder of Blackgirlflow)

Free. Admission is by token, 1 per person, available at Courtyard Entrance desk from 12:00 on the day.

October 2013 (Date TBC)
Alexander Crummell Lecture

The first annual lecture on African history and culture in honour of Alexander Crummell – an American minister and son of a freed enslaved African. Special guest speaker to be announced. Free. Further details to follow.

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.