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Kedisha Coakley’s reappropriation of African braids

In her cultural history, Don’t Touch My Hair, Emma Dabiri argues that the ‘desire to conform’ to a European aesthetic ‘which values light skin and straight hair is the result of a propaganda campaign that has lasted more than 500 years’. It’s a theme which is further explored by Kedisha Coakley, a recipient of the Yorkshire Graduate Award from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, in her first public exhibition. ⁠⁠Coakley’s work encourages viewers to reconsider the intersection of social and historical narratives between people of European and African descent. As with Dabiri, her interrogation of Western representation and stereotypes appears to be a voyage of empowerment through hair.