Brooklyn photographer debuts photographs from his afro anthology
FORT WAYNE—The Fort Wayne Museum of Art opened the spring exhibition season with a contemporary photography exhibit that documents the rising popularity of natural hair styles, especially the Afro, by Brooklyn photographer and author Michael July. July launched the initial project on kickstarter.com, raising more than $20,000 to print and distribute a 450-page coffee table book chronicling the evolution of the Afro in America. The original photographs, never before printed for gallery display, are on display through June 9 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
Over five years, July approached a variety of individuals from across the country and asked them to participate as subject models for his book. He was able to capture the crème de la crème of Afros as worn by people of virtually every shade, ethnicity, country and age group. This exhibition shows pictorially the power, beauty and glorious nature of the ‘Fro and tells the deeper “hairstory” of each of its models. This exhibition, inspired by the original book, captures the spirit and essence of the Afro today and pays homage to the historic significance of natural hair iconic voyagers, such as Angela Davis and Jimi Hendrix.
The people of Fort Wayne can expect a number of exciting events in conjunction with this exhibit, including A Day of Natural Hair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 4, featuring hair demos, discussions, workshops and products from natural hair vendors. Also at 6:30 p.m. May 4, July himself will discuss the project and exhibit with a model from his book, Aevin Dugas, who also holds the world record for largest afro.
July’s book “AFROS: A Celebration of Natural Hair” is on sale in the FWMoA’s Paradigm Gallery for $44.95. General admission to the exhibit is free for FWMoA members, $7 adults, $5 students and seniors, and $12 for families. Admission is free for everyone from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays and 12 noon to 5 p.m., Sundays. Veterans, active military personnel, and their families receive free general admission. FWMoA gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays, and 12 noon to 5 p.m., Sundays.
Beginning with art classes in 1888 given by J. Ottis Adams and later William Forsyth, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art has evolved into a center for the visual arts community in Northeast Indiana. Regularly exhibiting regional and nationally acclaimed artists, the FWMoA also boasts an extensive permanent collection of American Art as well as prints and drawings from artists such as Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. The Museum is committed to the collection, preservation, presentation and interpretation of American and related art to engage broad and diverse audiences throughout the community and region, and add value to their lives. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is a funded partner of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne.
This article originally appeared in our May 1, 2013 issue.