Origins of the Afro Comb Exhibition

Nubia Pamper Day
November 14, 2012
Respect The ‘Fro
August 16, 2013

Origins of the Afro Comb Exhibition

On Sat 10th August as part of a group of bloggers/vloggers I went to Cambridge to visit the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition which opened on 2nd July 2013. The trip was organised by Crystal (of United Kinkdom blog) who is a member of the committee. We all travelled from Kings Cross station and safely arrived in Cambridge by 1pm. The exhibition was situated over 2 buildings showing 6000 years of history, politics and culture.




We firstly visited the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology where there was an Art Installation of a barber shop, salon and front room designed by Michael McMillan, freelance writer, artist and creator. We laughed as we reminisced about when we used to have our hair done and which grease was applied and the implements that were used.

smile salon

wall of hair icons
Around the wall were some interesting quotes.

 hair quote   quote 3

hair quote1   quote 4


Remember the hot comb?

hot comb

We took a few mins walk to the Fitzwilliam Museum which housed a roomful of display cabinets were pre-dynastic Egypt to modern day combs found in Africa where displayed. It was fascinating to see the detail that went into constructing combs carved out of wood and how our ancestors took their grooming, adornment and implements seriously. Im sure I took pictures of every comb.
world combs

wooden combs1

wooden combs

selection of combs
Amongst the combs were associated images and carvings, bronze statutes, headrest and motifs.

figurins   benin head

Within the last section we listened and watched personal stories about gooming and the afro comb that were previously documented in London and from other countries around the world. On 28th April 2012 I was part of the Afro Comb Day in London and was privileged to be interviewed by Felicity Heywood of This is Culture

Our people continued with hair grooming during slavery. Hair combs were found on the plantation

hair combs during captivity

Grooming through slavery without our implements and natural oils. Black panther symbolic fist. Afro pick with polished metal tongues that was designed with a black panther fist, a popular artefact of the black power movement.

modern combs

One of the impressive displays was a selection of 10 bronze like modern combs that had intricate designs on the handle that represented the story of the Maroons created by Russell Newell.

maroon  story of the maroons


This exhibition had been tremendously put together and I commend the organisers for their time and effort to showcase a part of my history. So once the exhibition closes who knows where the combs will end up and whether you will get the opportunity to see them. The exhibition finishes on 3rd November 2013 and further details about the exhibition including events can be found on and

 gp pic

Bless – Sister E




1 Comment

  1. […] year I visited the Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition in Cambridge (review), which was excellent. Kandace wrote the children’s book to accompany that […]

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