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Munson Steed joins ‘HAIRarchy’ exhibition at Norwest Gallery of Art in Detroit

Photo courtesy of Steed Media

Asia Hamilton has a phenomenal vision for art and culture.

“HAIRarchy: A Celebration of the Black Hair Experience,” is an exhibition curated by Hamilton, founder and owner of Norwest Gallery of Art in Detroit. The exhibition, which opens Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, and continues through Saturday, Feb. 29, is a salute to the creativity within Black hair culture. It celebrates the versatility of Black hair, from the blowout to being ‘froed out and all styles in between. The exhibition is also designed to deepen a conversation that explores Black heritage and exalts its richness from around the globe.

Photo provided by Asia Hamilton

“HAIRarchy” features works by Hamilton, Munson Steed, Sabrina Nelson, Khleo Morris, Lebohang Motaung, Deja Milany, Stacie Monday, Franchesca Lamarre, Megan White, April Shipp, Errin Whitaker, Bre’ann White, Cannaday Chapman, Lia Zamor, and Nicole Grant.

“Detroit has always been a creative artist space that spawns cultural and iconic expression,” Steed said.

Rolling out spoke to Hamilton about the show, and she also provided insight into how the unique “HAIRarchy” exhibition came to fruition.

How does a show like this impact Black culture?

In Black culture, doing your hair is an evolutionary beauty standard, and yet a revolutionary act. What we are doing is monumental for the culture. A fine art exhibition of all Black artists from around the globe who are sharing ideas and collaboratively working together in an all-Black contemporary art museum is unheard of. It is important to have spaces like this to educate people on our culture and so the next generation can dream big.

What does hair mean in your work?

I’ve always been fascinated by Black hair culture. It could be because my father owned a beauty salon, and I grew up listening to the beauty shop gossip and [with] the smell of freshly pressed hair … or because it’s a huge part of our culture and sets the mood for where you are going. The style of my hair is a reflection of how I’m feeling. It becomes a part of the art.

What is misunderstood about art and culture? 

The misconception is that they are not the same. Art in any form sets the trends and the tone for our everyday life. You cannot have one without the other.

Admission is free and open to the public. For more info, visit

* “HAIRAarchy” debut | Sat., Feb. 8, 2020 | 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

* Artist talk | Sat., Feb. 15, 2020 | 2pm – 4 p.m.

*Closing reception | Sat., Feb 29, 2020 | 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Photo provided by Asia Hamilton