Nimah Gobir: Tender-headed and Other Works
January 12 - February 16, 2019
Closing Reception, February 16, 7 - 10PM
Hours By Appointment
Tender-headed, based Gobir’s identity as a black woman, explores African hair and how it exists outside of western beauty norms. This artwork stems from personal and intimate experiences of managing my hair throughout my youth. This installation embraces and exults a condition common to many African American women: seeking to reconcile the dissonance between one’s appearance and the narrow, widely accepted interpretation of modern beauty.
In Tender-headed, Gobir uses embroidery thread to simulate a visual encounter with the chaotic nature of African hair, contrasting with the orderly pattern on the backside of the canvas. Thread, in addition to being essential to decorative and domestic stitching, is a material commonly used in creating hairstyles to tame kinky hair in braids or weaves. I chose to stitch floral forms because they are recognizable as an ornamental and feminine patternIn Tender-headed, embroidery, a peaceful, maternal action, is meant to characterize similar sentiments involved in braiding hair. Furthermore, the stitching is present where the hair is altered from its natural state with combing, parting, or braiding. While the front of the canvas shows tangled threads, the orderly backside of the canvas celebrates African hair’s chaotic nature. The contrast in the thread’s appearance on both sides of the canvas represents a problem and solution dichotomy, referring to how African hair is usually approached as a problem to be solved.
About the Artist: Nimah Gobir is an artist and educator from California's Bay Area. Through paintings and installations, her work explores both the nuances and shared experiences of being black. Her work draws on text and photo references collected from family and personal archives.
Gobir completed her undergraduate studies at Chapman University with a B.F.A. in and Studio Art B.A. in Peace Studies; she has an M.Ed from Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus in Arts in Education. She has shown work at ForYourArt, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and Root Division where she is currently the Blau Gold Studio/Teaching fellow.