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Hair Pieces

This resource focuses on Hair Pieces. The exhibition explores the evocative and complex significance of hair in contemporary culture through a selection of recent Australian and international works of art. For millennia hair has been a resonant and compelling site of meaning, transmitting ideas about gender, mythology, status and power, the body, psychology, feminism and notions of beauty. At once radiant and repellent, and often richly symbolic, it has always assumed a particular importance in relation to the self, history and society.

In this education resource, we will examine three themes of the exhibition: Identity and Society, Uncanny Possibilities, and Power Dynamics. In doing so, we will consider the works of the following artists represented in the exhibition: Ana Mendieta, Marina Abramović and Ulay, Sonia Boyce, Janine Antoni, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Wes Placek, Rosslynd Piggott, Zhang Hong Chun, Charlie Sofo and Debris Facility Pty Ltd, Georgia Banks, Lou Hubbard, Jiang Jian, Louise Weaver and Peter Ellis, Christina May Carey, Christian Thompson, Ai Yamaguchi, Polly Borland, Tarryn Gill, Shih Yung-Chun, John Meade, Julie Rrap, Patricia Piccinni, Chunxiao Qu, Hayley Millar Baker, William Wegman, Edith Dekyndt, Mona Hatoum, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Karla Dickens, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, S.J Norman.

For educators it is important to note that the exhibition is not strictly speaking a thematic project, but rather it is grounded in the artists’ shared interest in the symbolic, metaphoric and material possibilities of hair, as well as its suggestiveness. While there are affinities and threads that connect different works, the curator Melissa Keys was more interested in creating an exhibition that explored the complex significance of hair in a way that is compelling and open-ended.

Installation view, Hair Pieces, photograph: Clytie Meredith

Current Exhibitions