Am I Still Dreadful?

This hair belonged to Andrea Johnson who kept her hair in locs for twenty years. Ending her loc journey, she combed out her locs which took her months and gave the artist the broken hairs from that process. Gbadebo wanted to create something that honoured what the hair use to be, “dread” locs, while also acknowledging what the hair is now, loose strands of natural hair. So she felt the hair back together to form a single loc.
In North America, the term “dreadlocs” became popularized during slavery when slaves owners would refer to the enslaved African’s matted hair as dreadful. The title of the piece, “Am I Still Dreadful?” poses the question, now that I am back into this locked form do you still see me as dreadful, forcing its viewers to consider the racial and derogatory origins of the knotted hairstyle.

  • Date 2015
  • Type human hair felted
  • Dimensions 16 x 20 inches