GLAM Center for Collaborative Teaching and Learning - Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

Dont Touch My Hair

African American artist Lorna Simpson was born in 1960 in Brooklyn New York. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego and would later become most prominent for her black-and-white photographs as well as her collages. Most of Lorna Simpson’s work focuses on the beauty of Black people and experiences. As someone who grew up during times of “Black is Beautiful” and “Black Power” movement (1960’s) Lorna’s experiences as a Black woman during these times influenced her art. Simpson utilizes photography and to illustrate  the intersections between history, culture and identity using mostly Black women as her models. By using Black women as her subjects she distinctively highlights the intersectional identities that Black women share, which overall contribute to the uniqueness of their experiences within the world as well as the culture and identity’s that they maintain. While Simpson’s art ranges from drawings to films, this exhibit will highlight her work focused on Black hair. Historically Black hair has been recognized within the media and society as nappy and unprofessional. However, Black people and Black women specifically have learned to appreciate their beauty and that is essentially what Simpson has done in her art. A fun fact about these photographs as Simpson did not take most of them. Most of the pieces shown are in fact curated of images that Simpson has painted over originally found in Ebony and Jet magazines that were gifted to her by her grandmother. Essentially depicting the historical context within the art is self by utilizing past photography taken in past times.


Dawnielle Mitchell