The Ways We Plait

‘The Ways We Plait’ is inspired the culture and experiences of hair making in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I’ve always been drawn to the presence of hair and its capacity for structure. In this story, I looked to the details that go into the preparation process such as which hairdresser to employ, their plaiting techniques and expertise the painfulness of their hand in relation to the sensitivity of one’s scalp. I also considered mannerisms and other subtleties of being in a hair maker’s place of operation – the waiting process, negotiations, how money is paid and handled. And then there are the rituals of care-taking that provoked memories of village women holding cocoyam leaves over their heads to protect their hair and hairstyles from the rain. I incorporated these finer points into a story that also paid homage
the late Nigerian photographer, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere (1930-2014).