I Let My Hair Loose: Protest Series

I Let My Hair Loose : Protest Series, brings to the surface the politics of the gaze. It also deals with the portrayal of female subjectivity in a particular way.  This series of work was inspired by the memories of me gazing at the stone faced women in the old photographs hung in my grandmother’s house as a child.  Probably my fascination with old photographs started then. The work uses female hair as a means to arrest the male gaze which objectifies the female sitter.  By covering the face, it obstructs the completion of the viewers’ voyeuristic enjoyment of looking at their female sitter.  The use of hair as a covering for the face gives other layers of meaning to the work. Hair in its proper place is seen as a mark of beauty. Hair out of place is seen as significations of hysterical, uncontrollable, uncertain and unpredictable behavior (alluding to medusa's hair). Therefore, using hair as a face covering goes beyond the ideas of a protective veil.  It is more about defiance to let the male gaze rest on the woman's face, and an obstruction that does not allow for the completion of the voyeur’s process of enjoyment. Therefore hair-covering manifests into a protest.

I Let My Hair Loose: Protest Series (2010)

Photo print. 129cm x 106.2 (Photography & art direction : Shirmal Silva/Dilki Perea, Photo performance: Anoli Perera/ Lakisha Fernando/ Dilki Perera)