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Talking Textures: The Relationship Between Hair, Cultural Identity and Shame

April 12, 2024

Award-winning barber, Yasemin Hassan, has announced the launch of an innovative new exhibition: Talking Textures. Curated by Yasemin and captured through the lens of photographer Yeliz Zaifoglu, the photo series dives deep into the intricate relationship between beauty, cultural identity and the resilient nature of hair, especially within the Southwest Asian & North African (SWANA) communities.

Spanning across a series of 26 compelling photographs, a poignant short video and an engaging panel discussion, the project aims to celebrate, educate and redefine the cultural significance of textured hair. This initiative seeks to bring to light the challenges, beauty rituals and the profound connection between hair and cultural identity in SWANA regions.

Yasemin Hassan has emerged as a pivotal figure for individuals with textured hair in London, particularly within the SWANA community. Her extensive experience on high-end fashion shoots and London Fashion Week 2023, coupled with personal conversations within her community, inspired the creation of Talking Textures. Yasemin’s mission is to decolonise perceptions of hair and address the underrepresentation of SWANA identities in the hair industry.

Working closely with Dania Arafeh, founder of 3EIB – a SWANA fashion platform reclaiming the Arabic word 3Eib, meaning ‘shame’ – this project is a reaction to the underlying shame that SWANA individuals often experience from others within their own cultures, as well as what we are taught in the mainstream media about beauty.

The exhibition runs from 12th April at Ugly Duck London, 49 Tanner St, London SE1 3PL.