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Tignon Law, worn head wraps, scarves and bonnets  81.5 x 68 inches, 2024



Scarfs and head wraps go back centuries and hold various meanings across cultures and religions. However, I particularly was thinking about the role the scarf has played in the lives of African American women.

Thinking of the 1786 Tignon Law which made it illegal for women of color to show their hair in public. The law demanded women of African decent, slave or free to cover their hair and refrain from “excessive attention to dress”.

The law was basically put in place for women who seemed to “compete” too freely with white women and therefore threaten social order. However, our ancestors pushed back by incorporating bright colors and patterns with creative wrapping techniques, which were later said to enhance their beauty.

The scarf has since become the Black womans best friend in relation to their hair. From using the scarf to prevent damage from harsh sun rays while working in the fields to preserving styles for Sunday services,special occasions and everyday life. The scarf , wrap and bonnet play a major role in black hair and culture.

I was thinking of how many stories can be told in a scarf. The Love made, lost, laughs, meals cooked, styles preserved for special occasions, moments shared etc. A LOT happens in our lives with those wraps,scarves and bonnets on from late nights to early mornings.

I want this quilt to be a nod to that history and to the stories told and moments shared all within a scarf/wrap or bonnet.

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