In recent years, there has been a rise in Black women shaving their heads, with the style often being labelled as provocative and daring. Simply by existing, figures such as Laura Mvula, Julie Adenuga and Michaela Coel are inspiring the visual representations of this aesthetic as well the conversations surrounding it. There is notable documentation over the pond in the United States but how has the multiplicity of these experiences been explored within the UK context?
Bald Black Girl(s) is a multidisciplinary project by cultural producer & visual artist Ruth Sutoyé, which centres the experiences of bald/low shaven Black women in the UK. It leans into conversations and themes around women choosing to shave their heads and the lives they lead. The work explores perceptions of masculinity, femininity and androgyny, how women navigate barbershop dynamics and sexuality.
Funded by Arts Council England and inspired by Ruth Sutoyé’s own experiences of becoming a bald Black girl and the varied experiences of those bald Black women around her, we see an exciting set of narratives emerge. The culmination of the project is a photography exhibition & poetry film previously housed Unit 5 Gallery & Roundhouse in London, now making its Birmingham debut at Ort Gallery.
‘Ruth’s project aligns with Ort Gallery’s ethos and we’re very excited to host her exhibition at Ort Gallery, offering our audiences a chance to see this great exhibition in their neighbourhood. We have been working towards becoming a leader in representation over the past 3 years and this project is an incredible body of work, allowing us to expand our audience reach and ensuring the industry hears the voices of all its artists, not just one specific group.’ – Josephine Reichert, Artistic Director at Ort Gallery
Engage with the Bald Black Girl(s) project via social media by using the hashtags #BaldBlackGirls #BBGReign and tagging @baldblackgirls @RuthSutoye
Wednesday 23rd September-Saturday 17th October 2020 (Tuesday to Saturday 12PM-5PM)
To observe the current pandemic guidance, this iteration of the exhibition will not have a private view, but the public is welcomed to come and engage with the exhibition and Ruth Sutoyé, who will be present on the opening day. Free admission without tickets.
CURATORS & ARTISTS
Ruth Sutoyé – Artist, Producer & Curator
Ruth Sutoyé is a cultural producer and multidisciplinary artist whose work spans across photography, film and poetry. A Roundhouse Resident Artist and Barbican Young Poet alumna, her work has featured in several publications and platforms including BBC, University of Arts London, Peepal Tree Press, and The Cob Gallery. Sutoyé has performed, showcased and produced across the UK and abroad, including Southbank Centre, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Design Museum, and Lagos International Poetry Festival. Recent exhibitions include Lineage & Bald Black Girl(s), with Bald Black Girl(s) in its 3rd iteration making a Birmingham debut. Ruth employs an archival approach in her work, with a praxis rooted in the preservation of marginalised narratives.
Josephine Reichert- Assistant Curator
Josephine Reichert is the Artistic Director at Ort Gallery.
Thanks to Arts Council England, the project’s ongoing participants and vendors/sponsors. Special thanks to Natalie Fiawoo, Tolu Malomo & Nathalie Teitler for their ongoing support. The exhibition is curated by Ruth Sutoyé with support from Ort Gallery.