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Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art to host panel on “Health, Hair, and Heritage” on June 7


Thursday, June 6, 2013
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The Sanaa Circle, a friends group of the National Museum of African Art, will present a panel discussion in support of the museum in the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center Pavilion, Friday, June 7, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.; it is free and open to the public. The panelists are experts from the fields of beauty, art, culture and history who will discuss contemporary hair, health and beauty in reference to the heritage and history of Africa. The discussion will be moderated by Diana N’Diaye, who is the principal investigator and curator of The Will to Adorn initiative at the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The project is one of the three themes of the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and it looks at identity and how it is reflected in African American dress. N’Diaye is also a jewelry and dress designer.

Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director of the National Museum of African Art, will begin the evening with opening remarks. A reception will follow with hair models featuring images of contemporary beauty and styles by natural hair stylist and cosmetologist Camille Robbins-Reed. The panelists will be available for additional conversation during the reception.

Panelists include:

Dr. Monte Harris, a Sanaa committee member and internationally recognized plastic surgeon, lectures and leads discussions on the role of hair in an individual’s perceptions of beauty and identity. As the leader of the Center for Aesthetic Modernism and Do Good H.A.I.R. Project, Harris provides comprehensive health guidance for women seeking to achieve personal beauty that aligns with their ancestral heritage.

Karen Milbourne has been a curator at the National Museum of African Art since May 2008. Her expertise includes the arts and pageantry of western Zambia and contemporary African art. Since joining the museum, she has curated the exhibitions “Artists in Dialogue: António Ole and Aimé Mpane” (2009) and “Artists in Dialogue 2: Sandile Zulu and Henrique Oliveira” (2011). She also served as coordinating curator for the exhibitions “Yinka Shonibare MBE” (2010) and “Central Nigeria Unmasked” (2011).

Gina Paige is president and co-founder of Africanancestry.com, the nation’s leading genetics-based people ancestry-tracing company, sparking global interest, dialogue and focus on the importance of people knowing who they are.

Health, Hair and Heritage
June 7, 2013, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
International Gallery, sublevel 3
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Washington, D.C.
Admission: Free. Reserve your tickets here.

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