I AM MORE THAN MY HAIR
March 19 – September 5, 2021
Sandy Spring Museum
17901 Bentley Rd, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
Alyscia Cunningham rocked the art world with her 2018 book I Am More Than My Hair in which she explored the beauty of women who (for health reasons) have embraced baldness. In 2018 she helped create a fashion show in which the male, female, and child models were all proud bald. In 2020 she brought those voices and images to the moving screen, with her documentary of the same name. Now, in 2021, she has lifted the barrier of accessibility for those with visual and hearing loss in a groundbreaking exhibit that conveys in multi-sensory portraiture the powerful images of women whose glory is more than their hair.
“The lack of accessibility in art exhibitions for visitors vision and hearing loss is an area that most artists feel helpless to correct,” said Cunningham. “After becoming aware of this gap, I wanted to find a way to make my visual art accessible in new formats, that would open the experience of the art to people often barred from it.”
Alyscia investigated the rarely-used process of lithophanes, three-dimensional imagery that interacts with light to create a unique visual experience. While the process has been used for centuries, Alyscia conceived of using it to transform the two-dimensional photographic portraits into three-dimensional “touch-scapes,” creating both a tactile and a visual experience.
Accessibility is built into every part of the exhibition. Braille embossing will accompany written descriptions. Audio description of the images will be provided for visitors who have vision loss. Interpreters in ASL (American Sign Language) will facilitate the artist talk. The screening of the film, I Am More Than My Hair, will include closed captioning and audio description for both hearing and vision accessibility.
“I felt I must be part of the solution. The impact of such an exhibit for people in these communities will be immense. Artists create change by making unseen things visible. I hope this exhibition will inspire many to build inclusion into our artistic and creative process.”
Click on an image below to hear the audio description.
This project is fiscally sponsored by Women in Film & Video, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
This exhibition is made possible through the support of:
Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant
Nat R & Martha Knaster Charitable Trust
Lucius & Eva Eastman Fund Inc.