- Museum number
Oil painting; commercial sign-board made of plywood, used to advertise barbers' shop hairstyles. Six individual heads are depicted in profile, each displaying a different haircut. The heads are painted in bold black outlines on a white background; each head has a yellow collar.
- Production date
Height: 34.40 centimetres
Width: 44 centimetres
Depth: 2.50 centimetres (including string attached)
- Curator's comments
- Painted sign-boards are seen throughout Africa. The majority of painters are men. Artists establish workshops under their own or assumed (and often globally recognised) names. Sign-boards produced by these workshops are often signed and may be dated; they are invariably associated with an urban environment.
Among the most prominent workshops during the late 1980s and early 1990s in Nairobi were ‘Mike Arts’ and ‘Stephen M’ (also known as ‘S.N.M.’); both specialised in male haircut designs.
Many of the haircuts for both men and women advertised outside African hairdressers’ and barbers’ shops relate to individual celebrities; others refer to wider categories such as Europeans, or to certain professions or towns; still others are the invention of individual hairdressers.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2013 July-November, Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Origins of the Afro Comb
- Fair; chipped in places.
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number