Synthetic hair woven with wire, gold leaf and pony beads, neon and wool. Nafis White creates her work from objects commonly found in beauty supply stores, industrial and irrigation components and the seemingly limitless horizons of our global and political landscapes. Through sculpture, installation, photography and weaving she centers the uncanny audacity of self-affirmation and love by means of repetition as a form of change.
White draws inspiration from the rich Diaspora of experiences and traditions of Black beauty and self care built upon centuries old histories of embodied knowledge that honors, celebrates, and values the innovation, technology and imagination carried through and passed on by the fingertips of Black people. Through play and continuous exploration, White employs her research on the intricate customs of Victorian Hair Weaving and appropriates them using Black hair, beauty products, and hairstyling techniques where they were never imagined to take up space and esteem. White exaggerates pattern and scale with keen emphasis beholden on colors and textures to draw viewers to the creativity, resilience and power of a people whose very existence and aesthetics have been the subject of ridicule, persecution and systemic erasure since their harrowing and iniquitous arrival upon these shores.