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A Saturday Morning Ritual: A Space for Re-Membering, Columbia GSAPP

Paintings on this image by Jessica Spence
Urechi Oguguo

Nina Cooke-John
“A Saturday Morning Ritual: A Space for Re-Membering” focuses on centering and celebrating black hair, the art of hair-braiding and the rituals that its entails. It does this while expanding on the efforts of local art programs such as the BxArts Factory (which is a Bronx-based art organization that is already doing the work of support-ing local artists and making art more accessible to the community). The idea is to combine more contemporary art forms with hair braiding to emphasize how this practice that is very familiar to the memory of the neighborhood is also art.The installation takes place along the very active WhitePlains Road so that it is highly visible, and adjacent to several existing hair shops. It is attached underneath the elevated railway and hovers over a garden on street level.The programs are supported by an often overlooked structural system: the scaffolding, which is easy to erect and move around similarly with the many Open Street restaurants that have popped up around New York City which extend dining into public space. Here, the structure extends the daily, weekly, bi-weekly rituals of hair care into public space. It is also made of a material that is as familiar to the city as the street itself, something that does not appear as too precious to touch or feel welcome in. The illustrated renders shown in this project follow a users walk through the bits of the installation on an early Spring Saturday - the unofficial, yet globally recognized “hair day” by Black people across the diaspora.

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