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Arts & Culture

Blue Star Exhibit Asks: Does Hair Make The Woman?

Blue Star has opened yet another new exhibit. It's called "Dark and Lovely," and it has an interesting premise.

"Dark and Lovely explores issues of identity by exploring hair, and how those tiny, delicate strands have the power to identify us to the world," said Jennifer Ling Datchuk, the artist behind the exhibit. And to her, hair is a really big deal.

“For me, it’s my starting point. Growing up, always having this black hair, and it identified me to the world," she said. "As an adult and having this hair and having people come up to me and saying, ‘Your hair is beautiful and gorgeous. Oh, it’s because you’re Chinese.' And that instantly places me in this box."

So she began exploring how much her hair and racial background affects her self concept. Here's one way:

"I recently cut about 12 inches of my hair to incorporate into my sculptural pieces," she said.

She created something that is one part traditional and two parts not at all.

“I took some cast porcelain shower drains and I collected my hair every day and I used that hair to I embroidered a sampler of racial ethnic slurs that I have personally been called,” she said.

It’s a piece that looks old school on the wall; until you look closely. She explained it this way.

“Kind of taking back and owning these words again,” Ling Datchuk said.

I asked her about the video portion of her exhibit called Pluck.

“In this performance piece I look in the mirror and I pluck my eyebrow’s hairs out while saying the phrase, ‘He loves me, he loves me not,' ” she said.

There are many other pieces including one where she creates eyebrows of porcelain.

“I think of the stereotypes of Asian women -- you’re either the Tiger Mom, the Dragon Lady -- but then you’re also supposed to be very submissive," she said.

Overall, despite the way it sounds, the exhibit has a surprisingly light vibe to it. She’ll be exhibiting until November 9.