In my series of paintings in Cabello Caido, I challenge the perspectives related to human hair, commitments to hair maintenance and styles, and our relationships with our hair. In some families, like my own, hair has become the center of objectification and is tied to themes of religion, feminism, spirituality, gender, culture, and identity. Hair “purity”, that is, hair that hasn’t been altered in any way from its natural state, is a powerful indicator that carries varying levels of importance to the individual and those around them. There is a strong notion that comes with cutting off hair, since long hair requires cultivation through time and commitment. When a person cuts their hair, the time that the individual has invested in it is instantly abandoned for an unfamiliar experience they’ve decided to commit to, and this is even more true for those who have never been allowed to do so.
Through my paintings, I process the emotion of my own hair growth, the phases of its stylization, and the committed ritual that went into cutting it off and eventually shaving my head. I am an extension of my family, and my hair is the outer edges of an expression that they extend through me. I interpret the roots of my hair as my family, the length of the hair as me, and the split ends as simply my hair. My family’s perception of my hair is to keep it untouched, that cutting it would be cutting into me, and my action would eventually affect them. The shortened hair length then affects the hair styles that are familiar within the family dynamics, because my choice is then seen as a defiance to their values. Through these issues of bodily autonomy and painterly expression through color and form, I hope to capture the remorse, regret, and nostalgia that comes when locks are cut off, even when it is by individual choice.