I Am Not My Hair: Mixed Media Art by Amani Congleton at HWLC

I Am Not My Hair, an African American History Month art exhibit by artist Amani Congleton, is on display February 18 to April 21 at Harold Washington Library Center in the 8th floor flat wood cases.

The exhibit explores racial bias against people with naturally curly and kinky hair, such as policies like natural hair bans in schools, laws allowing discriminatory hiring practices that impact individuals with dreadlocks and limiting natural hairstyles in the military.

"This art represents that we are not the negative connotations associated with our hair," Congleton said. "Our hair is just as beautiful as anyone else's."

Artist Biography

Amani Congleton is a senior at Centennial High School in Champaign. All of her life she has taken an interest in visual art and fashion. As she got older, her view of the world became clearer, allowing her to form her own opinions and beliefs. Her passion for social justice is very apparent; her artwork creates strong social commentary about stereotypes and celebrating identity.

Not only does Congleton create artwork in school, but she dedicates her time to share her talent with her community. Congleton had work selected for a juried exhibition, The Eric Show, during both her sophomore and junior years. She had art projects displayed in the Marketplace Mall in Champaign both freshman and junior years. This summer, Congleton designed and collaborated on a mural with a local graffiti artist and several other teens during a hip-hop workshop by the local rap duo Mother Nature at the Champaign-Urbana Independent Media Center.

Most recently, Congleton's artwork can be seen on an electronic billboard display as one of 10 2016 winners of the Adams Advertising, Champaign Unit 4 School District art competition.