SUPAFRIK’s Creative Director, Chinedu Ukabam, is transforming the bathroom at the Gladstone hotel into anode to Afro-pop art and the distinct aesthetic of barbershops across Africa. He’s one of the featured designers at the hotel’s annual Come Up To My Room design event, where artists are given free reign to transform areas of the hotel into immersive installations. Imagine a (futuristic!) nostalgic alternate dimension dedicated to hair and its capacity to shape, mold, and coiffe identity; his exhibit, “Style and Profile”, is exactly that.
Hair. Wouldn’t it be interesting to look inside the heads of Black men and women and see how our brains respond to a simple mention of the world, or is it just us? Hair is a powerful component in our experience. Chinedu Ukabam was inspired by the fact that, for many, walking into barbershops provides the opportunity for them to pick an identity—haircuts that promise to turn wearers into Lumumba‘s or Private Eye‘s, or more recently, The Weeknd—and of course, to debate and disseminate today’s hottest topics.
In “Style and Profile”, Ukabam has created a barbershop that takes the shaping of identities very seriously, and very literally. It’s a futuristic comment on the ways in which people have chosen to portray themselves, especially via social media. If hairstyles were all we had before, lighting and angles filter the images we depict today; notwithstanding a stream of selfies reflecting bathroom mirrors and the caricature we most identify with.
Oh, how we see ourselves…
So, while The Lumumba might still be your look of choice, such cuts are an accessory to the multi-dimensional narratives in our virtual timelines.
Chinedu Ukabam’s Style ‘n Profile exhilarates our senses in a captivating installation at the Gladstone Hotel from January 21-24. Below, you have some African pop-cultural references inspiring the themes running across the thread of his art…
Which one is most you? From The Prince to The Flattop, The Executive to Suave, insta-choose the look that is most you! Most true. Most new. most astute.
As we reminisce, isn’t it profound to see the return of old styles and the periods in which they’ve come back? From Lumumba’s iconic part, to the Weeknd’s rather wicked renaissance of the Mini Dread.
Now talk about futuristic nostalgia! Here we have a Rwandan man with an Amasunzu hairstyle circa 1923. What name would you give for this style if it was one of the options in the first image?
Oh ladies, how varying the styles can be! So much to choose from.
Artist Chinedu Ukabam used various pop-culture references as inspiration for his installation.
Come and join us for a once in a lifetime barbershop experience at the Gladstone Hotel from January 21st – 24th. Pre-purchase your tickets at Eventbrite here. Join the conversation online with the hashtag #StylenProfile16.
By: Daniella Kalinda