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The Coiffured

min read

The Coiffured

min read


The Coiffured

The Coiffured is a unique solo exhibition of work by Leitrim based artist Amanda Jane Graham. Combining humour with a critical reflection she explores the significant historical landmarks in the history of hairdressing from the headdresses of Egyptian pharaohs to Queen Marie Antoinette and 18th-century Irish parliamentarian Edmund Burke. Burke wrote, ‘the occupation of a hairdresser, cannot be a matter of honour to any person.’ Amanda Jane Graham’s creative approach provokes a revaluation of historical art from the perspective of a hairstylist, acknowledging the collaborative process. Using instantly recognisable equipment and techniques, Graham highlights the significant contribution of hairstylists to art history and directly places the hairdressing profession within the frame of historical portraiture.

The exhibition includes a series of twenty humorous drawings and four 3D printed sculptures inspired by the sculptures from 300 BC to the 18th century. It also features a sound installation, a series of recorded interviews with hairdressers from different backgrounds and stages in career illustrating the day-to-day experience of a hairdresser in the playful form of a hood dryer; a recurring motif across the 2D, 3D, and audio work.


Graham’s practice is autobiographical. Before attending art college, she worked for many years as a hairstylist which imbues and informs this truly imaginative work. She delves into personal history and excavates memories and experiences, some of which are challenging but almost always, humour shines through. The exhibition brings art history, hairdressing history and her expert knowledge of hairdressing techniques together in the artworks through a sociological lens revealing.

Amanda Jane Graham, Artist

"The Coiffured analyses historical artworks from the perspective of a hairstylist to understand the professional input of hairdressers to portraiture for millennia. To do this, I scrutinise the artwork’s hairstyle and replace it with my approach using modern equipment. Hood dryers and rollers are also motifs to place the hairstylist within the frame of historical portraiture. It is my first time working with 3D drawings and sculptural forms. I’m eager to develop this way of creating and instigating conversation around collaborative processes in historical artworks, creative acknowledgement, and occupational omission."

The Coiffured takes an activist approach, revealing the vast contributions of the hairdressing profession to the arts and using identifiable equipment it places the hairdressing profession directly into the frame of historical portraiture.


Complementary to the exhibition is a publication entitled, The Coiffured, which documents the work and exhibition. It features essays that explore the hairdressing industry from historical and contemporary contexts and expands on an understanding of creativity and its value. Contributors include: the Artist, Amanda Jane Graham, Philip Delamere, Arts Officer, Leitrim County Council, Tania Banotti, Director of Creative Ireland, Margaret O’Rourke Doherty, CEO HABIC, Professor Kerstin Mey, President of the University of Limerick, Professor Mary P. Corcoran, Professor of Sociology Maynooth University, and Professor Don Herzog, Edson R. Sunderland Professor of Law University of Michigan.


The project is a Spark initiative and collaboration between the Artist, Leitrim Arts Office, Local Enterprise Office Image Skillnet, HABIC (Hair and Beauty Industry Confederation of Ireland), and is generously funded by Creative Ireland.

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