For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


Herman Bingham & Associates present African Hair Styles: Culture and Consciousness

PHILADELPHIA, June 29, 2009—A new exhibition at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library explores how African women have historically used hair and hair styles as a form of communication within their cultural group and to demonstrate their life position and status within their group. The exhibition titled African Hair Styles: Culture and Consciousness will be on display through August 28 in the west gallery of Parkway Central at 1901 Vine Street.

Featuring a range of artistic and historical objects, such as masks, photographs, and intricately carved sculptures, African Hair Styles: Culture and Consciousness teaches visitors that in Africa, a woman’s hair style lets others learn about her from her marital status to her age to how many children she has. The hairstyles are an artistic discipline that provide aesthetic beauty and are a source of admiration and pride for those who wear them. The exhibition also illustrates how styles vary from village to village and how they have evolved over time.

The exhibition is presented by Herman Bigham & Associates: African Cultural Arts Preservers and Presenters, a collective of presenters, preservers, and scholars of African art. Their exhibitions focus on emphasizing the original intent of African sculpture as a visual means of perpetuating social order and stability, while maintaining cultural continuity.

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The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.




Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850