18:00 SAST

18:00  SAST

Façades of Beauty

Nobuhle Ngulube

BArch Hons 2022

Unit Leader: Tuliza Sindi
Unit Assistant: Tshwanelo Kubayi
Unit Assistant: Miliswa Ndziba

Unsettling Ground: Beyond the Terra Nullius
The work investigates hegemonic image-making standards through façades, where spaces that can be seen as identity-facilitating factories maintain the perversion of black female identity through assimilation practices. Using my personal hair salon as my primary site of study, the work approaches it anthropologically as it unravels the various façades that make up the space, how they operate and all that it perpetuates through various visual clues and mechanisms of engagement. In this way, the work makes a distinction between conscious experience and subconscious messaging as it reveals how hair salons act as institutions of modern beauty ideals that assimilate marginal identities into western hegemonic identity.

Treating the hair salon as a mirror to museum spaces, in how they both statically and actively preserve global beauty standards, the project intervention gets sited in the Albany History Museum in Makhanda, Eastern Cape. Its lexicon and cataloguing tools are appropriated to reorient our subconscious proximity to hair salons by relocating its practices and reframing them as an archived museum display, to fix in time a more honest rendition of the innerworkings of such spaces, and in that way, to critique what museums define as ‘accurate’ recordings of culture.

Façading, Global Beauty Standards, Assimilation, Anthropology, Image-making, Institution

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