Ivorian Artist Laetitia Ky Transforms Hair Into Artwork While Addressing Social Issues

The systematic othering of Black people's hair spans countless decades. Black hair is/has been political since time immemorial; but one thing you can't take away from it, is how versatile it is. Despite the systemic anti-Blackness, African women are taking ownership of their hair under the circumstances as seen from the current rise of natural hair movements and communities, where sharing of information has led to a number of Black people transitioning to natural hair. And when they're not simply rocking it, they use it as an art form while addressing social issues.

For instance, Ivorian polyvalent feminist artist, Laetitia Ky uses her hair to unpack different social issues. Despite the negative connotation Black people's hair is associated with in mainstream media; creations by the likes of Laetitia Ky are a breath of fresh air as they showcase the beauty of diversity.

Laetitia uses her hair to tell powerful stories by transforming her hair into different shapes themed around issues such as communication, fashion, music, nature, everyday objects and most importantly, uses the very artwork to address social issues.

The current boarder-less digital village has made platforms like social media a huge part of the culture in the 21st century that allows us to tap into each other's world. Slowly but surely, young Africans are using their voices through numerous forms of expression to decolonise the internet by telling their stories, which has given rise to different narratives of the continent. All these forms of expression offer a refreshing perspective that there's more to Africa than stories of poverty, HIV/AIDS etc.

Here's how Laetitia Ky transforms her hair into Artwork while addressing social issues:

On gender-based violence

Here she speaks about the prevalence of domestic violence and how women are the biggest victims and urges that we need to educate everyone one about domestic violence and its signals, and how abuse thrives in silence.

On mental health

Here she states how mental health is generally a neglected issue in Africa. And that people don't view anxiety and depression as a diseased as victims are often considered as weak-minded.

On women's rights and sexism

Here she starts by posing a pertinent question, "At what level is the fight for women's rights in your country?" She then talks about issues such as female genital mutilation and its impact; followed by educating women, gender-pay disparities, harassment and violence. She calls on everyone to speak up.

On the power of media

This artwork is captioned with, "Whoever control the media control the mind."

On body positivity

Here she speaks about being self-conscious of certain parts of her body and encourages people to love themselves the way they are because humanity's diversity is what makes us beautiful.

On agency and women's bodies

In this artwork she addresses anti-abortion laws and women's agency to do what they please with their uterus and concludes with, "Our uterus our rules. Our Bodies our rules."

Click HERE for more on the talented polyvalent artist's work.

Photo Credit: Laetitia Ky | Instagram

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