Laetitia Ky and the Why of Hair Art

POSTED IN Art
By Ifeoma Halim
Earlier in June, the world stopped in awe when photos of Laetitia Ky’s hair sculptures were released on the internet. They were different and captivating. In a few minutes, the self-proclaimed goddess took viewers through playful stories of love, Africa and womanhood using her long, slender locks – and we were sprung.
 
Several months have passed, and the 22-year old fashion designer is still a hot topic. As if houses like Allure weren’t enough, she recently received international media exposure in the BBC UK. We learnt more about this colourful personality in the interview – how it takes her up to three hours to create a look, or that she’s loved doing her hair ever since she was a little girl. You can watch the full video in all its glory here.
 
You may wonder why African Hair Art is relevant. So relevant that it’s caught the attention of the BBC? Well, it might have something to do with the complex relationship between African women and their hair, one that has lasted for centuries. Women were made to believe that their hair was thick, woolly and undesirable in some cultures, a belief passed on by generations. It is for this reason that most would rather cover theirs or change its form. This Ivorian artist, on the other hand, sees hers as an extension of her identity and chooses it as a creative medium. She is inspired by hairstyles prior to Africa’s colonisation and hopes to inspire other women to jump on board as well.
Japanese artist Nagi Noda and Chengdu artist Zhang DeXuan are two artists who have paved the way for hair art in recent times. Noda is well-known for her striking animalistic hair hats. DeXuan, on the other hand, creates portraits with beautifully knitted tiny strands. It is not too farfetched to see their success, as well as that of Laetitia’s, inspiring other women and/or artists to express their ideas and passions with their hair. The result, a movement that I believe will hold fast through time.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photos courtesy of @laetitiaky on Instagram
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