The Beautifully Wrapped Head Wrap exhibit, curated by Zarinah El-Amin Naeem, opened at Helen Warner Branch on Sept. 9. Since opening, this exhibit has garnered plenty of attention on social media.
The display includes 32 photos and four mannequin busts of exotic and cultural stylings of head wraps. My favorite photograph is of a man and woman dressed in beautiful green and gold.
Zarinah has traveled the world learning about the ways in which different cultures wear head scarves including turbans, traditional gele of West African countries, tichels (head wraps worn by Orthodox Jewish women), and hijabs.
I started experimenting with head wraps and scarves in high school. As an athlete, I got tired of constantly doing my hair and then sweating out the styles. I wanted something pretty and artful to wear that also would protect my hair from the damage of over-styling.
I started looking up tutorials on YouTube (there are many!). It wasn't until college when I went through the "Big Chop" (cutting long hair down to within an inch of the scalp), that I started wearing head wraps as fashion regularly.
India.Arie and Yuna Zarai were my head scarf idols, with India wearing them as fashion and Yuna wearing hers for cultural and religious reasons.
Now that my hair has grown down my back, I still experiment with head wraps and scarves on the weekends when I want to be stylish, but don't feel like doing my hair (we all have those days!).
I am excited to learn more about this art, especially the various cultures and meanings behind head wrapping. Zarinah's exhibit will conclude on Oct. 3, when she will lead a workshop at 6 p.m. about the cultural and religious history of head wrapping and different ways scarves are worn.
Don't forget to stop by the Helen Warner branch to see the exhibit. The display will move to the main floor of the downtown library on Sept. 21.