Bloodline: A Labor of Labor
In Bloodline: A Labor of Labor, Jazmine Hayes questions the relationships between hair, identity, and the preservation of one’s culture through the practice of hair braiding. African hair braiding has survived for centuries and continues to act as a vehicle to trace and relate to ancestry, lineage, and tradition. Often passed down from mother to child, sister to sister, or friend to friend, hair braiding inherently roots itself in care, intimacy, and honesty. Through the tedious and time-consuming medium of pen on paper, Hayes reveals the intricate details of braids and emulates the physical act of hair braiding. Simultaneously, she urges the viewer to question their own preconceptions of textured hair— specifically that of black women. In many ways, Bloodline: A Labor of Labor is the artist’s response to the almost incessant instances of cultural appropriation, particularly in relation to African hair braiding. More pointedly, she focuses the attention on the emotional and physical work of these processes by reconceptualizing the colloquialism a “labor of love,” to a labor of labor.
This site-specific installation features works from Hayes's ongoing series, Bloodline along with sculptural and written elements from the her current practice. Bloodline: A Labor of Labor is Jazmine Hayes's first solo show in NYC.