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Chesley Antoinette: Tignon

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Image credit: Chesley Antoinette, Rachel Pringle

The 1786 Tignon Law of Louisiana was enacted to oppress affluent women of African descent, to decrease their beauty and thereby diffuse their alure to white men. Under the administration of Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miro, women of African descent were forced to cover their hair as an effort to control them, their affluence, beauty and intelligence. However, the headwrap became a symbol of rebellion as women donned their hair with exquisite, colorful scarves, adding jewelry, ribbon and other fine material. The Tignon was and is embraced by women of African descent, proving an occasion to showcase one’s creativity and adaptability.




Artist Chesley Antoinette is the creator and designer of Cantoinette Studios where she explores wearable art and sculpture. Antoinette, teacher at Mountain View College in Dallas Texas, holds a BFA in sculpture from Stephen F. Austin University and an MFA from University of North Texas in Fiber Art. In Tignon, she presents a collection of unique turbans, exhibiting a vast range of color, form and wrapping techniques. The headwraps are accompanied by large scale contemporary photographs and essays providing visual and written historical context to the Tignon Law. 







  The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible in part through the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2018.

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