Spring is here, and nothing screams spring in the Crossroads more than First Fridays! To kick off this First Friday season, Silver Screen Salon showcased Shenequa Brooks' Synthetic Ties exhibition.
Brooks is a senior studying Fiber Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute, and this show served as her senior project. The exhibition included synthetic hair woven into beautiful works of art, head pieces, and even included live models, who each had synthetic hair woven into their hair to create elaborate styles.
Fiber Arts, as explained by Brooks, is the study of fiber in a material or fabric. You learn how to dye, create, weave and/or construct your own material. Brooks first became interested in fiber arts through visiting the Kansas City Art Institute. The openness and experimentation of what the department offers through fiber is what attracted her.
Brooks draws inspiration from various contemporary artists such as Joanne Petit-Frere hair-dresses and Chakaia Booker fabric/tires headdresses. She also looks to various African-American hairstyles/braids, as well as textiles made in Ghana, Africa.
The beautifully detailed pieces that Brooks creates are very time consuming, and each piece takes about a week to complete in its entirety.
When asked about incorporating the live models into the exhibition, Brooks explained, "My inspiration behind the live models is to activate and enhance the space. It added to the process and the way in which African-American women interact when getting their hair done. It was about sisterhood, bonding, time, care, etc...that contributes to the act of when I weave my hair weavings on the loom."
What's next for Ms. Shenequa Brooks after graduation? Brooks plans on staying in Kansas City for a year to figure out her place in the art community, a community that she feels is very strong for emerging artists. However, traveling and applying to residencies around the world is also in this young artist's future.
As far as future exhibits, there are none planned as of right now, but Brooks is sure there will be more shows to follow in awesome and non-traditional gallery spaces that will add to the body of work at that given time.
When asked about her experience after the Silver Screen Salon exhibit, Brooks replied, "My First Friday showing went AMAZING and better than I could ever imagine. I had a great turn out and everyone had positive things to say throughout the night. I did sell two pieces and that is awesome."
Be sure to come out to Silver Screen Salon on First Fridays to check out a new local artist each month!