ON A CLEAR DAY
YOU CAN SEE 
FOREVER

AFRICAN SHOP SIGNS


In some parts of Africa a "barbershop" or "hair saloon" may entail nothing more elaborate than a barber or hairbraider with a chair set up in the open and a signboard hanging from a tree or market stall. The signs may be painted by the barbers or hairdressers themselves, or by paid sign artists. They are intended both to identify the businesses and to advertise the services offered, depicting a catalog of intricate women's hair braiding patterns or the latest in men's hair styles. Brightly painted on plywood or masonite, these signs represent a vibrantly colorful contemporary African art form.
 
The complexity of these signs can be found in the use of imagery and words. In the same way that African-American’s attempt to mirror African aesthetics so too does the African attempt to mirror the African-America. It therefore becomes important to the success of a sign that the artist have a mastery of the usage of the English vernacular to convey the sophistication of not only the service but those customers who will recognize the implied meaning of these words.
 
By extending Africa's strong cultural tradition of sculptured forms to the medium of hair, the modern African hairstylist has created one of the liveliest of the sculptural arts. The names and forms of the styles reflect all aspects of contemporary African art. Both male and female styles show a similar interest in pop stars and current events.
 
Throughout the history of Africa the adornment and styling of hair has been of profound social significance. Like body adornment, types of clothes, or kind and quantity of jewelry, hair style communicated rank and marital status, cult or religious affiliation, political alignments, or occupation. In modern Africa hairstyles act as a similar mode of communication both reflecting and facilitating social change.
 
African shop signs have long been collected in Europe, but in the United States these amazing works have mostly gone overlooked.
 

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Africa Hair Cut photo africa-hair-cut-2_zpsb2b2dde5.jpg

AFRICA HAIR CUT
Accra, Ghana
17.75 x 24.5, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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Cane Haircut - 1990's photo cane-hair-cut-2_zpsffc47142.jpg

CANE HAIRCUT
Ghana
22 x 27, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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 photo city-salon-2_zpsca030a69.jpg

CITY SALON
Ghana
24 x 36, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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 photo Excellent-Hair-cut-2_zps80c01bdf.jpg

 
EXCELLENT HAIR CUT
Ghana
23.75 x 31.75, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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home-boys-cut-2 photo home-boys-cut-2_zps9c68190e.jpg

HOME BOY'S CUT
Ghana
17 x 27, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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k-bonsu-hair-cut photo k-bonsu-hair-cut-6_zps7e720360.jpg

K, BONSU HAIR CUT
Ghana
18 x 23.75, Oil on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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kinyozi-ya-stima photo kinyozi-ya-stima-2_zpsabda42f2.jpg

KINYOZI YA STIMA (Barber With Electric)
Kenya
15.5 x 23, Acrylic on Wood -
1997


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queen-of-conroll-cornroll photo queen-of-conroll-cornroll-2_zps5b782411.jpg

QUEEN OF CONROLL
Ghana
14.75 x 15, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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saico-psycho-hair-do photo saico-psycho-hair-do-2_zps03e7ef9b.jpg

SAICO (PSYCHO) HAIR DO
Ghana
14 x19, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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 photo ub40-hair-cut-2_zpsb56a3768.jpg

UB40 HAIR CUT
Ghana
21 x 24, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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 photo unisex-barber-sign-2_zps35f8bc09.jpg

UNISEX BARBER SIGN
Benin
17 x 24.5, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1990's


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wjfa-koo-hair-cut photo wjfa-koo-hair-cut-2_zps2fabf224.jpg

 
WJFA KOO HAIR CUT
Ghana
15.20 x 20, Oil on Wood -
Circa 1990's
 

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Chez Tantie - Circa 2000s photo ChezTantie-Circa2000s_zpsee73ebbf.jpg

CHEZ TANTIE
Country of origin unknown
14 x 18, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 2000's
 

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Koffi Style Sign - Circa 2000s photo KoffiStyleSign-Circa2000s_zpsc5915d2f.jpg

KOFFI STYLE
Country of origin unknown
14 x 18, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 2000's
 

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 photo BananiaAfricanSign_zpse3e72810.jpg

BANANIA
Morocco
9.5 x 13, Acrylic on Wood -
Circa 1980's
 


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