My work celebrates the beauty of African hair; an underappreciated natural beauty all too common destroyed by harsh chemicals and damaging weaves. 

Mireille Liong - Artist StatementCapturing the beauty of African Hairstyles allows me to picture the beauty of Black follicles while shining a light on the social injustice of unequal hair rights.

Beyond the beauty of each portrait I hope people realize that the exceptional style they so admire seems unusual because Black people are the only ones on planet earth who don’t have the basic human right to wear their God given tresses natural. 

Black people need to go to court to be granted the simple right of wearing styles fit for their characteristic strands. African Hair is generally stereotyped, ridiculed and considered less than other hair types.

Still today, any company can reject a potential Black employee because their policies don’t allow Dreadlocks, Cornrows or Afros. All of which are perfectly normal African hairstyles but are regarded to as unprofessional, political, extreme or even as “too ethnic."

As a direct consequence, Black women suffer disproportionately from hair and scalp issues despite the fact that they outspend any other ethnic group on hair care. Up to 73% of African American women deal with hair loss in their quest to meet society's standards of what hair should look like; an unwritten hair etiquette based on strands that are genetically different from African hair.

So trough my lens, I like to show people a different reality. Not only do I hope that the beauty of these styles make society realize that it violates a basic human right but also what a disservice it is to deny the world the beauty of African hairstyles.

My deepest hope however, is that women in the Diaspora see their beauty reflected in the versatility of some of the most amazing styles our follicles have to offer and realize they HAVE good hair. There is no reason to destroy perfectly shaped napps with hazardous chemicals or obsessively compulsively spend a mortgage on artificial wigs and weaves marketed as "real" hair.

You can read more about My 1st Natural Hair Exhibition in New York.