Working across disciplines to produce work that occupies the forms of fine art, design, and social practice, Zimbabwean-born artist and educator Nontsikelelo Mutiti curates an African Hair Braiding Salon that provides a framework to publish and present a range of works that are physical and performative in nature. Here, women of colour are brought into proximity with each other over the business of beauty. Collaborators include graphic design Julia Novitch, writer Tinashe Mushakavanhu and sculpture LaKela Brown.
Mutiti also hosts: a sound collaboration between Dyani Douze, Taja Cheek (Throw Vision) and Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa; a conversation on women in new media and technology with Torkwase Dyson, Samole Asega, Yulan Grant and Kimberly Drew (Black Contemporary Art); and a talk between Yolanda Sangwena (Afripop Magazine), Amy Sall (SUNU Journal), Ali Rosa–Salas (Top Rank Magazine) and Jessica Lynne (Arts.black) on women in self-publishing.
“Braiding is not just about beauty; it is also about perseverance, trust and creativity. It is also such a generous act, spending time with someone, working on them.” Nontsikelelo Mutiti
Nontsikelelo Mutiti is a Zimbabwean-born artist and educator. She has been a resident artist at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Recess as well as the Centre for Book Arts in New York and is currently Assistant Professor in the New Media Department at State University of New York, Purchase College.
Julia Novitch is a graphic design who studied at Yale University School of Art. She collaborated with Nontsikelelo Mutiti on the Recess analog project, braidingbraiding.com.
Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a writer and researcher Zimbabwean literature and anarchism. He has written extensively on Dambudzo Marechera and his essays, short fiction and poetry have been published in numerous journals.
LaKela Brown is a visual artist who works primarily in sculpture. She was born and raised in Detroit. She attended the College for Creative Studies where she majored in Fine Arts. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
Dyani Douze is a multimedia artist. She has served as an editorial apprentice on Spike Lee’s documentary Bad 25, and has produced several personal projects, including a short documentary exploring architectural spaces in Paris. Dyani also produces music and DJs at local venues.
Taja Cheek is a code-switcher who works in theater, dance and music. She is a member of Brooklyn-based art rock ensemble Throw Vision.
Tanyaradzwa Tawangwa is a Zimbabwean-born musician and composer. A Princeton graduate, sheworks between mbira, classical piano and cello, opera and popular forms.
An interdisciplinary artist, Torkwase Dyson‘s work merges ideas such as site and built environments, nature and culture under the rubric of environmentalism. She has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.
Salome Asega is an Ethiopian visual artist, writer, and independent curator. Her work employs art practices to communicate cross-culturally and draws on history to discover the affinities that bleed beyond border lines.
Yulan Grant is a video artist and zine writer who explores how to use appropriated footage, sound, and literature to discuss issues of class, race and gender.
Ali Rosa-Salas is an editorial assistant at Top Rank Magazine and curatorial fellow at MoCADA. She has produced exhibitions, event series and public programs for AFROPUNK, Barnard Center for Research on Women, Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, TOP RANK Magazine and Weeksville Heritage Center.
Yolanda Sangweni is a South-African born writer/editor and cultural curator. Currently, she is the entertainment editor of ESSENCE.com and the founder of afriPOP, an online destination highlighting what’s new and what’s next in global African culture.
Amy Sall is a researcher and writer and the founder and editor of SUNU: Journal of African Affairs, Critical Thought + Aesthetics.
Jessica Lynne is a writer and arts administrator. She is also co-editor of ARTS.BLACK, a platform for art criticism from Black perspectives.
For more on Nontsikelelo’s archive of hair visit Get Out of My Head.