In Africa, as in many other parts of the world, a hairstyle is often named after the famous people that inspired them (Tyson or Ronaldo) or the characteristics it is supposed to bestow upon its adorner (Pretty Boy or Aristocrat). The African barber is not just in the business of cutting hair, he is engaged in the service of shaping identity. The “Style & Profile” installation will explores the duplicity and ephemeralness of identity using the visual language of the hand painted barbershop signs and murals seen throughout Africa.
Taking full advantage of the immersive possibilities of the room, the multimedia installation takes inspiration from the sights, smells and sounds of a neighbourhood barbershop. In addition to found objects and sound design, the walls of the room will be covered with “identity portraits”. Each hand painted and digitally manipulated mixed media portrait is named after the identity it represents. Video projection will also be used to animate some of the portraits.