The Nuanced Artistry of Braided Coiffure

Photography & Words: Shani Crowe

Like patterns of intricately woven hair, we are connected to our ancestors and each other. I utilize hair to illustrate, propagate, and reimagine the connective quality of braiding among people of African descent. Inspired by instruments, artifacts, and culture; past, present, and future, BRAIDS is a visual ode to the beauty and nuanced artistry of braided coiffure.

SHANI CROWE is an interdisciplinary artist who received her BFA in film production from Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications in 2011. Her work centers on cultural coiffure, adornment and beauty ritual, as they relate to the diasporic African, and how these practices function as tools to foster connectivity. She  is most known for creating intricate corn-rowed hairstyles, then capturing them as large photographic portraits. Shani’s was a part of the ensemble selected to represent the US in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, her  work and performances have been featured at the Broad in Los Angeles, on Saturday Night Live  in collaboration with Solange Knowles, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Chicago,IL, the Museum of Contemporary African and Diasporan Art (MoCADA),  in Brooklyn, NY, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, in Grand Rapids, MI, Columbia University, and  Soho House Chicago. She lives and works on Chicago’s south side