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2020 Gallery

Can I Touch Your Hair?

Best in Show Adult

by: Habib Hajallie, Dartford, United Kingdom

One can be present, but not feel included. True inclusion is when you're seen, heard and respected.

quote by: Jana Quismundo, Berlin, Germany

Artist Statement

Nuanced prejudices in society serve to constantly remind you that, if you are not white, you are different. This notion seems to be perpetually present in social situations of which people attempt to touch my hair. This may seem perfectly innocuous to be intrigued by hair that is different than the norm, but looking below that veneer of innocent curiosity you will find the root of racial prejudice. For a Caucasian person to ask to touch Afro hair or, in many cases pat one’s head without asking, is a demeaning act with connotations of petting an animal. Thus, making an individual feel less than. The texts used in the collaged ground provide a means of contextualizing the portrait by acting as a catalyst for the expression of Pan-African pride. Pragmatically selected pages from the 1940s “Sierra Leone Studies” book, is a crucial part of the process as this expresses the strong ties I have to my heritage, placing them in a new domain to show exactly where my Afro hairstyle comes from. This work focuses on one aspect of the Afro-British experience in modern society that I hope exemplifies larger sociopolitical issues which will resonate with ethnic minorities.

Lesson Plan Connection

Grade Levels: 9-12
Standards: LAFS.ELA-LITERACY.910- 1112.SL.1-3 & RH.2.4; LAFS.SS.912.H.1 & H.2

SEL Tenets: Identity and Agency, Social Skills, & Public Spirit
Essential Question - How can a person show dignity and respect for all people, no matter who they are?
Lesson Plan  |  PowerPoint