Over the summer and early fall, two cohorts of high school students participated in “The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity,” administered by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Their images, videos, interviews and writings have become the basis of the next student exhibit at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures.
Local high school students documented personal aesthetics and style in the African American community. They visited shops, salons, African American braiding salons, and spoke with local experts.
Smithsonian commissioned the project because this area – the influence of African American dress – has not yet been the subject of formal research. The students’ work is groundbreaking and creates the basis for collaborative learning and instilling pride in community traditions. It can broaden their perspective on the African American community and its aesthetics as a visual vocabulary and means of self-expression.
This exhibition runs until March 11, 2018.