Reno artist prompts black women to free their hair

Traci Turner did not know what her own natural hair looked like until she was 14 years old.

"When I was little, I didn't really have a choice. My mom, she used to always have me get it chemically straightened," Turner, 30, of Reno, said.

Turner, like many young black girls, grew up under the impression that her hair could never be left to its own devices. She spent hours at the hairdresser suffering the sting of chemicals penetrating her scalp.

It felt like her head was on fire. She did not like the process, and she did not like the way it made her feel about herself.

"It used to be, we were told that there's good hair and bad hair, and our hair is bad hair. That's really damaging psychologically. No, it is beautiful. There is no bad hair," Turner said. "The only bad hair is damaged hair."

Now savvy to the wonders of freed locks, Turner has used black women's natural hairdos as her latest inspiration for her painting series "Flyy and Kinky," which now is open to the public at Never Ender Boutique and Gallery.

The series showcases nearly a dozen oil paintings by Turner, who uses a rainbow of colors to create small-scale portraits of women sporting styles from a soft pink afro to plump violet waves.

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I'sha GainesComment