Brixton Underground's New Mural Is An Ode To The Hair Salon And Black Female Culture

Brixton Underground's New Mural Is An Ode To The Hair Salon And Black Female Culture
comuters rushing under the new artwork
Joy Labinjo's 5 more minutes is an ode to the importance of the hair salon. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Courtesy the artist and Tiwani Contemporary. Photo: Angus Mill.

Next time you're heading in or out of Brixton Underground station, pause to look above the entrance, where a large-scale mural — themed around the area's Black hair salons — has appeared.

Joy Labinjo's '5 more minutes' is set in a hair salon on a busy Saturday morning, with women of different generations gathered under hood hair dryers, chatting and watching TV, while children play on the floor. The setting isn't one particular salon, but a composite of the various salons Labinjo has visited over the years — as well as others she drew on from historical sources.

the mural glowing from the station entrance at night
Labinjo often travels to Brixton for the authentic hair salon experience. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Courtesy the artist and Tiwani Contemporary. Photo: Angus Mill.

Hair salons, says the artist, are a core part of the Afro-Caribbean community in Brixton, and a vital community institution that has so far weathered various waves of gentrification. The artwork also depicts what is a quintessentially Black British female experience.

Labinjo, who has often travelled to Brixton especially for its salons, says of the area: "As soon as you get out of the station, you know you've arrived: the smell of incense; the buskers; the street raconteurs; the fashionable looks; there's swagger, charisma and thought all around. It's irresistible.

"I wanted to make work that reflects not only my own lived experiences but other Black women in London and in the UK."

the mural in an empty station
You can go and see this artwork for the next 12 months. Brixton Underground station. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Courtesy the artist and Tiwani Contemporary. Photo: Angus Mill, 2021

The mural — commissioned as part of a series by Art on the Underground — can be enjoyed till around November 2022, when it'll be replaced by the another artwork.

Check out more of Joy Labinjo's incredible art on her website.

Last Updated 15 November 2021

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