Hair: Untold Stories

There is more to hair than washing, combing and cutting. It is an extraordinary fibre with a range of unexpected possibilities.

This new exhibition puts the substance before the style and unlocks the untold stories of hair.

From jewellery and dresses to armour and environmental protection, the show highlights the qualities of hair as a material. It also explores our complex relationship with hair both on, and off, our heads – how and why we care so much about our hair, and how hair is entangled with society’s expectations and our relationships to others.

Weaving in stories from Forest Hill hairdressers to the global hair trade, and featuring the work of artists, filmmakers, designers and members of the public, Hair: Untold Stories is intimate, surprising and wide-ranging.

Experience the personal and communal space found in the barbershop installation and film, from the Migration Museum’s Room to Breathe exhibition.

The exhibition also features an installation from Korantema Anyimadu. The hair shop installation explores the experiences of Black women and non-binary people with their hair in the UK.

Featuring work from artists, filmmakers and curators including:

  • Stacy Bias
  • Jenni Dutton
  • Erwan Fichou
  • Jane Hoodless
  • Keith Jarrett
  • Julian Knxx
  • Habiba Nabisubi
  • Isaac Olvera
  • Farrah Riley Gray
  • Anna Sparr
  • Studio Swine
  • Sanne Visser
  • Hiromo Yamazki
  • Ryo Yamazki

Curated in partnership with Emeritus Professor of Anthropology Emma Tarlo and Goldsmiths, University of London. Hair: Untold Stories is the inaugural exhibition created for the Museums and Galleries Network for Exhibition Touring (MAGNET). The lead curator for the Horniman is Dr Sarah Byrne.

Banner image and exhibition illustrations by Habiba Nabisubi.

Enjoyed Hair: Untold Stories? Continue the journey

Cult Hair

INFRINGE’s Cult Hair is a photography series that celebrates hair unrestrained by mainstream beauty standards. Cult Hair highlights the power and beauty of people living out their true form. Ordinary people with extraordinary hair.

Find out more and visit

Intimate Archives

Intimate Archives is a free display offering a window into African diasporic social experiments, rituals, and practices of hair care. This exhibition is an assemblage of personal and found collections, Horniman Museum archives, and artistic collaborations. It articulates hair as a site of Black feminist care, community, and possibility.

Curated by Rambisayi Marufu, the exhibition includes work by Gelila Negussie, Olivia Ema, Ebun Oduwole and Foluke Taylor.

Find out more and visit

Your image will be weathered but never taken away, 2017

Created by artist Isaac Olvera, these giant natural hair wigs were first shown at Bold Tendencies in Peckham in 2017. Over time their exposure to the elements will weather the wigs, and alter the hair.

These wigs are on display in the exhibition and also in the Horniman Gardens.

Highlights from Hair: Untold Stories

Curators and collaborators

  • Alix Bizet, in collaboration with Aasha John and students from Haberdashers’ Knights Academy, Bromley
  • Cat Dunne, in collaboration with the Halo Collective
  • Vibha Joshi and Anungla Aier
  • Rose Sinclair
Supported by