head of an African-American woman upside down at top of sheet with long twisted dreadlocks in shades of grey and black hanging down toward bottom of sheet

%C2%A9 2008 Mequitta Ahuja

Tress IV, 2008

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Mequitta Ahuja finds African American hair “weighted with personal and cultural history.” She aims to transform it into a “space of infinite creative possibilities or generative possibilities . . . a space of abstraction or imagination.” She says, “The idea of exaggerating my hair comes out of the cultural space that hair has in the lives of black people and the way it has embodied our changing ideas of standards of beauty as well as political consciousness.” Questions of identity fuel Ahuja’s art. Her father was born in India, and her mother is African American. She grew up in a largely white community, where she had “virtually no contact with other black people or with African American culture or community.” She describes her works as “automythography,” an extension of Audre Lorde’s term “biomythography.” Lorde, a black feminist, argued against the overly simplistic stances of identity politics and focused on the subtlety and specificity of individuality and experience. Automythography “combines personal narrative with cultural and personal mythology.”

Details
Title
Tress IV
Artist Life
born 1976
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2010.17
Provenance
The artist, 2008; [BravinLee Programs, New York, 2009, sold to MIA]
Curator Approved

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head of an African-American woman upside down at top of sheet with long twisted dreadlocks in shades of grey and black hanging down toward bottom of sheet

© 2008 Mequitta Ahuja

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