Sunday, January 30, 2011

Signs and Symbols

(Above) This “King Jesus” sign is super cool.

(Above) The white glow behind these heads make this sign pretty special, not to mention the hairstyles, which look almost like metal rods.

(Above) These mugshot style paintings above are quite nice. The colors, patterns and unique faces make this as funky as something one might find in a magazine like Juxtapoz.

(An Accidental Mysteries Blast from the Past January 11, 2009)

AFRICAN BARBER SIGNS, often painted by the shop owners themselves, have long been considered a form of folk art. What I like is the idiosyncratic nature of the signs, and the way they often use symbols as a way to communicate. For customers, one just walks up, points to a hairstyle and sits down. These signs, all in various sizes, are from Indigo Arts Gallery in Philadelphia, PA and originate from places like the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin and others. Sometimes these signs are found hanging in a marketplace stall, or simply hanging from a tree—with the barber standing next to a chair underneath. These signs not only advertise hair styles but other services as well (like shoe repair, as in the “King Jesus” sign above, one of my favorites).

The Museum of African Art in NY had an exhibition of these style of signs in the year 2000, as did the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at UCLA in 1995.


Dull Tool Dim Bulb said...

The museum show you mention had an entire barber shop imported and installed in in the lower level. It was a wonderful show, the older photographs and objects relating to hair were most extraordinary. Thanks for reminding me...I'll have to look for the catalog.

Linda Davick said...

I love the 2 on the bottom.

Cassandra Marcole said...

Heeh, the last one looks cool and funny! Only a few appreciate African art. But if you have an eye for art, you will appreciate their work. :)

[Cassandra Marcole]

Every said...

Interesting post, I really wish I saw the exhibit. I hope there is another. You can see some other pretty nice African salon paintings and movie posters at this persons etsy.

They seem to have quite the collection.

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