Arts + Culture
From the series 'I Am Not My Hair' by Aisha Mohamed. Photo courtesy of artist.

This Digital Art Series Celebrates the Ethereal Beauty of Bald Black Women

Somali-British digital artist Aisha Mohamed shows how black women's versatility goes beyond having hair in her newest series, "I Am Not My Hair."

Aisha Mohamed is a 22-year-old digital artist from South London who takes images of our favorite black beauties and places them in an ethereal, Afrofuturist realm.

Mohamed took interest in creating digital art since she was a teen, but she says she had to walk away from creating and take a break. "Back then it was mostly just about creating art from my favorite TV shows and films. After a while, I realized it wasn't really fulfilling me the way I needed," she says via email. "After taking a long hiatus, when I did return to creating digital pieces, I knew that it had to be in conjunction with something that resonated with me. Black women were the answer."


Her newest series, I Am Not My Hair, has already has made its rounds on the internet—not only because it's stunning, but also because of its message.

In this series, Mohamed remixes portraits of Danai Gurira, Aweng Chuol and Ataui Deng, placing their rich skin against muted colors that emulate the the different shades of the sky at night. A sea of textured stars layer the portraits, as if one is staring at a constellation. For Mohamed, I Am Not My Hair gives another perspective regarding the relationship a black woman can have with her hair.

"I did a piece a few months ago showcasing the versatility of black hair, which was really fun, but I wanted to flip it somehow," she says. "Our hair can be a very integral part of our culture and history, but I think a lot of the time people think black hair is part of our identity—at the end of the day, it's just hair and I wanted to reflect that in some way. My hair isn't the most important part of me."

With or without our versatile tresses, black women still command a presence many can only emulate at only a fraction—and this series proves that. Take a look at I Am Not My Hair below. To keep up with Aisha Mohamed, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Interview
Photo by Toka Hlongwane.

Toka Hlongwane’s Photo Series ‘Impilo ka Darkie’ Aims to Give an Insight Into Black South Africans’ Experiences

With his latest photo series, 'Impilo ka Darkie', South African photographer Toka Hlongwane offers an imperfect but compelling insight into the lives of the people he has encountered through his travels.

Toka Hlongwane is a Johannesburg-based documentary photographer whose work often casts a lens on society's underclass. His most recent photo series, Impilo ka Darkie, shot over five years, is Hlongwane's attempt to answer two questions: what does it mean to be Black? And, above that, what is the measure of Black life?

Part of Impilo ka Darkie's appeal is that it also documents Hlongwane's growth as a photographer. As the years roll on, his composition becomes stronger, the focus on his pictures becomes much sharper and a storyline begins to emerge in his work.

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