THE ORIGINS OF THE AFRO COMB – PROJECT
On Saturday 28th April, 2012 – I took part in the Afro Comb Day which was co organised by Crystal aka Crystal Afro of United Kinkdom Blog. http://unitedkinkdom.blogspot.co.uk/ . It was held at The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaelology in London.
The Afro Comb Day is part of a larger project called Origins of the Afro Comb which is a shared project between the FitzwilliamMuseum, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, and the PetrieMuseum. The oldest combs can be dated back as far as the 14thcentury in Ancient Egypt which was made of natural material such as wood, ivory, bamboo and even bone. We were given a tour of the museum and a talk about the oldest combs by project manager Sally-Ann.
I was privileged to be part of the focus group which was led by Crystal who led an open discussion which was recorded for future footage to be incorporated into the project. It was a nice relaxed atmosphere that was attended by majority UK natural sisters which I was fortunate to know – Belinda, Stacey, Angel, Fola, Keisha, Leila.
We were all given the opportunity to share our experiences that we had with afro combs, which combs we were familiar with, the era and their meaning. On the table was a selection of Afro Combs which we were asked to bring our favourite or not so favourite. There was the Fan comb, metal, black fist comb –brought back memories from the highlights during the American Civil rights movement and for the younger generation status.
I was asked about my combs that I brought whilst I was in Ghana. I like wooden comb because of the carved workmanship and their cultural meanings due to the Sankofa bird carved at the top. The large comb is an ornament which has 2 carved ornate designs incorporated into the handle – the twisted knot for unity and the fertility doll representing puberty. I do have larger combs at home but as I had to takeLondontransport I thought it would be safer otherwise because if something had happened to my combs the day would have turned out to be called – The Vex Comb Day.
After the group discussion I was interviewed by journalist Felicity who asked questions about by knowledge and I spoke of the conscious and cultural side as how they are not just looked at as part of a tool. There is a wealth of knowledge within one small museum that we must hold on to for restoration and purpose This was made evident in the film 400years without a comb written by Morris – which we screened last year as part of Respect The Fro
Further planned events taking place in Cambridge this year are:
16th June, Introduction to African hair combs – 2-4pm
11th August, From Roots to Relaxers – 2-4pm
Workshops are FREE but booking essential, tele 01223 332904 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If anyone is interested in taking part in the Origins of the Afro Comb in conjuction to the leading up to the july 2013 exhibition contact Sally-Ann Ashton on 0122 332905 or email SA337@cam.ac.uk or Crystal on email@example.com