Crown - Hair & Identity is a project exploring hair as a powerful form of self-expression.
The project has created an exhibition that will be launched at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in the autumn.
Hair can be a powerful symbol of individuality and a strong form of self-expression. The way we treat our hair can tell as much about where we come from as our language or accent. Hair often communicates an unspoken expression of identity.
The project was conceived by artist Breda Mayock who met with teenage girls from the Maple Youth Centre in Ballinrobe and women from Mayo Traveller Support Group in Castlebar. Artist Breda Mayock explains:
Irish Travellers or Mincéirí have a shared history, culture and language. They are a distinct ethnic minority group, as well as being a part of Irish society for centuries. The distinct ethnicity of Travellers was officially recognised on 1 March 2017. The exhibition will shine a light on the rich traditions and culture within the Traveller community and explores the often unexplored topic of hair.
I got in touch with Traveller girls and women to talk to them about hair. We have had many conversations. Women from the Traveller community discussed their unique aesthetic expression. And the expression of their identity through hair: plaits, rolls, ribbons, top knots and curls as well as customs and traditions. I worked with photographer Orla Sloyan, to photograph the women with a special emphasis placed on their hair during the photography sessions.