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Hair Power in Rotterdam

Hawai necklace ivory Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

ABOVE: Necklace, lei niho palaoa. Hawaii.
19th century.
Walrus ivory, human hair, fiber.
© Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam.


Rotterdam—The Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam is presenting a special show titled Hair Power, a unique thematic exhibition focusing on the symbolism of human hair. Hair (or its absence) can be a vector of power, but it can also express aesthetic conceptions or be an indication of identity, such as membership in a particular community.

Objects related to hair—combs, headdresses, wigs, ornaments, etc.—contribute to the construction of these meanings, and often are themselves imbued with them. These phenomena are examined in an exemplary manner through a dialogue between cultures and chronologies.

Thus, artifacts from distant peoples in the museum’s collections, such as a human hair headdress from Papua New Guinea or an Alaskan headdress rendered waterproof by woven hair, to give but two examples, are presented alongside contemporary works by artists, such as the famous wig designer Tomihiro Kono and Antonin Mongin, who creates fine tapestries from hair.

The exhibition also features many photographs, a medium that is particularly well-suited to capturing mankind’s intimate relationship with hair and what it can say about his relationship with the world around him.

Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam
Until May 2023

Hair Power exhibition view Wereldmuseum Rotterdam
ABOVE: View of the exhibition Hair Power, 9 July 2022 to 8 May 2023 - Wereldmuseum Rotterdam 

Spatial design: Maison the Faux & Serana Angelista 

Hair Power exhibition view Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

ABOVE: View of the exhibition Hair Power, 9 July 2022 to 8 May 2023 - Wereldmuseum Rotterdam 

Spatial design: Maison the Faux & Serana Angelista 

Hair Power exhibition view Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

ABOVE: View of the exhibition Hair Power, 9 July 2022 to 8 May 2023 - Wereldmuseum Rotterdam 

Spatial design: Maison the Faux & Serana Angelista 

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