The head-tie is a constant in the history of women of color. Juliana Kasumu traces this lineage in her new portraiture series, "From Moussor to Tignon: the Evolution of the Head-Tie." The series highlights the dual social and political association of the head-tie for women in eighteenth-century West Africa and for Afro-Creole women in North America: Worn as a prominent adornment of signares - female slave traders - in Senegal and mandated as an indicator of racial inferiority in New Orleans.
Kasumu developed her new series during an international artist-in-residence program, organized by Olaju Art Group in partnership with the Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture at Dillard University. "From Moussor to Tignon" is a continuation of the artist's graduate dissertation, "Irun Kiko," which explored traditional hair statements within the Yoruba culture in Nigeria.
Born in 1992 in London, Kasumu's art practice focuses on exploring the contemporary significance of cultural traditions from West Africa, especially those that pertain to women. As a contemporary artist, Kasumu provides viewers the opportunity to engage with images that demystify preconceptions of black women and their bodies.
"From Moussor to Tignon" runs through October 11 at The McKenna Museum of African-American Art in New Orleans.