In September 2016, Damián Ontiveros approached neighbors in the barrio for the first time. After meeting with several groups with different profiles, he decided to work with a group of mothers who are studying hair styling at the Centro de Día Casa Yolia. Ontiveros was particularly interested in the types of relationships that are built within the group and the way these generate empowerment in the hair styling practices. He will then explore, through conversations, the secret history of hair, as well as its fashions with their multiple cultural meanings and their aesthetics. His goal is to build creative and cohesive networks in the group, which may lead to a joint project with a critical approach, both in its vision and in the personal involvement of each of these women.
For forty-five days, Damián Ontiveros worked intensely with a group of women hairstylists to involve them in the production of a common project. The resulting piece is focused on female hair as a space of symbolic resistance, where feminine energy flows as an untamed force subjacent in the dominant patriarchal system, and which is shaped in different forms of inequality, invisibility, and exclusion. The main goal is to critically emphasize how patriarchy predetermines women’s energy in numerous spheres, such as the social, educational, political, and economic environments.
Presentation of the proposal
31. Interested in receiving critical feedback about his project, Ontiveros shares his project for inSite/Casa Gallina with Lorena Wolffer, Mauro Giaconi, and Roberto de la Torre, guests invited by inSite/Casa Gallina. The experience of the guests, in addition to that of the internal curatorial team, nurtures feedback that opens different possibilities of reformulating or reinforcing the original proposal.
During this period of time, Damián Ontiveros refines his proposal, taking into account the feedback given during the presentation. He reviews the interviews he did of the women about the meaning of hair to them, their emotional relationship with it, and the importance of their work. He then uses part of this material in the final piece. The purpose is to generate a piece that uses the emotional energy of the group to defy the conventions of feminine hair and hairiness. The piece will be divulged in the barrio. As a closure, the artist will program a public talk about the core of the piece, and experts and the group of stylists will generate a discussion about the topic.
With help from the local beauty parlors, the collection of female hair begins, while Ontiveros designs a prototype to clearly define the production of the piece.