The Best African Art In 2014
Okayafrica looks back at the best African art in 2014, featuring work by Wangechi Mutu, Emeka Ogboh, Omar Victor Diop and more.
‘Ruka (to braid/to knit/to weave)’, Nontsikelelo Mutiti (Zimbabwe)
Ruka (to braid/to knit/to weave). Photo provided by Nontsikelelo Mutiti
Ruka (to braid/to knit/to weave) existed as a space for Zimbabwean artist Nontsikelelo Mutiti to take on the role of designer, student and researcher in an African hair salon environment. Her recent exhibit at Recess in SoHo (which ran June 3rd-August 2nd) highlighted hair braiding as an art and the transmission of the practice. "In many states to practice legally a hair stylist must attend cosmetology school and obtain a license," she told us. "There is not much emphasis on black hair in cosmetology courses." Braiding has thus long been a community-oriented practice passed down generationally. Ruka (to braid/to knit/to weave) featured an intimate community braiding workshop where participants were invited to explore different techniques for arranging natural hair and encouraged to bring their favorite hair products and regimen to share with the group.
>>>More Photos + Interview With Nontsikelelo Mutiti: ‘Ruka (to braid/to knit/to weave)’ Explores The African Hair Braiding Salon