Arts + Culture

Beninese Artist Meschac Gaba Transforms Holland's Architecture Into Towering Colorful Wigs

Gaba’s artwork previously exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, Cape Town, London and Paris.

Zam Magazine uncovered conceptual artist’s Meschac Gaba series of 13 wig towers, which opened the Afrika 010 exhibition in the Wereldmuseum (World Museum) of Rotterdam, South Holland in April.


The Beninese artist, who first burst onto the international art scene with his nomadic project The Museum of Contemporary African Art (1997–2002) consisting of 12 rooms including the wedding room where he was married in 2000, looks to recreate iconic architecture from the Dutch harbor city as towering wigs. Produced by tresseuses in the capital of Cotonou, the portische take on the form of the 33-floor World Port Center, observation tower Euromast and the tallest building in the Netherlands, the Maastoren (just to name a few).

Having been the former director of the Wereldmuseum just a couple of years ago, Gaba contemplated putting his wigs up for sale, but thankfully, they have been given a second life, and are a welcome addition to the African artifacts such as statues and masks also on display as part of the Afrika 010 exhibition.

Not one to shy away from themes of globalization, consumerism, and other Western cultural conventions, Gaba's artwork has been previously exhibited at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Cape Town, London and Paris.

If you find yourself in the Netherlands between now and January 8, 2017, be sure to set your sights on Gaba’s multicolored, sky-scraping hairpieces. In the meantime, see highlights below.

Meschac Gaba, De Markthal, synthetic hair, metal and textile, 2016. Photo: Krijn van Noordwijk

Meschac Gaba, Laurenskerk, synthetic hair, metal and textile, 2016. Photo: Krijn van Noordwijk

Meschac Gaba, De Rotterdam, synthetic hair, metal and textile, 2016. Photo: Krijn van Noordwijk

Meschac Gaba, SS Rotterdam, synthetic hair, metal and textile, 2016. Photo: Krijn van Noordwijk

Meschac Gaba, De Markthal, synthetic hair, metal and textile, 2016. Photo: Krijn van Noordwijk

Meschac Gaba, Maastoren, synthetic hair, metal and textile, 2016. Photo: Krijn van Noordwijk

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Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

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