Afro ‘tumbleweave’ set to be Leeds exhibition’s mane attraction

Selina Thompson
Selina Thompson
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Explosive afro hair is literally taking on a life of its own in Leeds.

A “tumble weave” of hair extensions and weaves is rolling into the Union 105 artspace, in Chapeltown, to help explore the cultural and social debate surrounding black hair and its contribution to black identity.

The unusual creation, which is littered with hidden textures and items of meaning, is the work of Beeston-based artist Selina Thompson whose ‘Dark and Lovely’ installation is set to go on public display next month.

The performance-based work is the result of months of research in which Selina has been working in Leeds hair salons and shops to find out more about afro hair and what it tells us about being young black and British in the UK.

She said: “As a black woman hair is a big part of your self-esteem and identity.

“I found it interesting to see the differences in attitudes between generations about hair and the beautiful stories about people bonding with their mothers, aunts and sisters about getting their hair done.

“And it is not just something that affects black people because it resonates with how we all feel about our personal appearance.”

Dark and Lovely, which is supported by East Street Arts, Art Council England and Leeds Inspired, will see objects and mementoes from Selina’s family home, compliment the textural tumbleweave.

Adelle Stripe, from East Street Arts, said: “A lot of the work is based around attitudes to black hair. It’s all to do with identity and colour and the importance of having your hairdo and what it represents.”

“She’s a real rising star,” she added of Selina.

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