Artist Weaves Confederate 'Black Hair Flag'

Sonya Clark's work uses actual hair to express her take on the African-American experience.

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Artist Sonya Clark told the San Antonio Current that she'd like to be a hairdresser in her next life ("Their art has agency -- it walks around; you don't have to go to a gallery to see it," she explained).

For now, her newest installation at the city's Southwest School of Arts makes use of hair to express her take on the African-American experience. One piece in particular, Black Hair Flag, takes reclaiming negative symbolism to another level: As the Current describes the piece, "The battle flag of the Confederacy is sewn through with black fibers; cornrows make the stripes, Bantu knots form the stars of the Stars and Stripes."

Another, Cornrow Chair, is a wooden armchair adorned with rows of running braids. The cornrows, which are invisible from the front, are designed to depict slave labor's role in building the country -- invisible to or unacknowledged by those in power. "You could sit on the chair and be blissfully unaware of the back 40," said Clark.

Madam CJ Walker, a wall-covering depiction of the first African-American millionaire, is made of hundreds of fine-tooth combs.

The pieces are personal -- quite literally. Clark tells the Current that she uses her own hair as well as that of her friends and her mother in her work. Check out some photos of the pieces here and weigh in. Hair as high art: bizarre or brilliant?

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