in The Frame #6 - Jennie Pedley - Afro Combin The Frame July 2014

Jennie Pedley is a Tottenham-based artist and physiotherapist. Her artwork is inspired by broad issues surrounding health, often involving collaboration with scientists, health professionals, patients and the public; such as The National Trust, Great Ormond St Hospital, and The Wellcome Trust. She has also been a judge for an art science prize run by The Natural History Museum, London.

Pedley has created films investigating an a-z of ageing, as well as virtual reality multimedia projects allowing the viewer to navigate the life stories of people with cerebral palsy. Her striking silhouette-strewn creations derive from shadow theatre techniques, where she finds ‘The screen provides anonymity, allowing even the most self-conscious people to relax in front of the camera.’

For our 'in The Frame' artwork, Pedley worked with Belmont Junior school and the Vale Resource Base for students with physical disabilities. They explored the history of the afro comb; from its use in ancient Egypt to the arrival of the 'Windrush' ship from the Caribbean; and the provision of afro hair products by local company Dyke and Dryden. Assisted by local performer Angela Baker, Pedley facilitated the workshops and composed the final image. The project is funded by an Arts Council Grant for the Arts.

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Funded by a grant from the Arts Council, Pedley is working on a new series of artworks to be placed in locations around Tottenham, London. Assisted by four local performers, she will be working with at least 200 local people.

The first artwork 'Afro Comb Adventures', placed beneath a railway bridge on the West Green Road, London N15, was created with pupils from nearby Seven Sisters Primary School. This artwork was inspired by an  exhibition 'The Origins of the Afro Comb', shown at Bruce Castle Museum, February 2014. The exhibition honoured Dyke & Dryden, a Tottenham-based African Caribbean hair and cosmetic business which produced and sold afro combs at their West Green Road shop between the 1960s and 1990s. Pedley ran two day workshops, each one assisted by a local actors Benedict Martin and Angela Baker.

Bruce Castle Museum are assisting with this project, which has been funded by The Arts Council and Haringey Council. The frame was installed by Matt of Bolden Signs.

Further afield, her short film 'On Aristotle as a Biologist' has been purchased by The Art Fund for the D'Arcy Thompson Museum of Zoology, and is currently being exhibited at Dundee University.

Pedley's Mini Shadow Theatre is available to buy HERE


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