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Laetitia Ky



Laetitia Ky (born 1996, Abidjan) is a feminist artist from Ivory Coast, who creates sculptures from her hair.

Biography

Ky was born in 1996 and grew up in Abidjan; her parent divorced when she was young. She has a degree in Business Administration from Institut national polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Yamoussoukro. After graduating, she realised she wanted to work in art and design. She began a new career in fashion design, but was soon inspired to change direction by looking at archival photographs of African women's hairstyles. She began creating these new fusions of hair art and sculpture in 2016.

Ky's hallmark style is creating sculptures from wire, thread and her dreadlocks (lengthened with weaves into her natural hair). She calls this style the Ky Concept. These styles express her creativity and increasingly, her politics. Each sculpture takes between twenty minutes and six hours to create. The first iteration of her sculptural hair art involved wrapping braids in African wax print cloth; in 2017 she hosted her first "Ky Braids" workshop to teach the art-form to others.

A music collaboration followed with Di'Ja, whose hair she covered in printed wax cloth inspired by the hair of Himba women.
Ky launched her fashion brand in 2018. Named Kystroy, it aims to be inclusive, using body positive language to describe clothing sizes for example.

#MeToo and Activism

Over time Ky's sculptures have become more political and in 2017 she used her platform on social media to raise awareness. That piece showed a man lifting up a woman's skirt, sculpted from her braids. Also in 2017 she produced a piece that created bulging muscles over her slim arm - this was to raise awareness about bullying, especially the damage it can do in childhood, which Ky experienced.

In 2019, Ky created a new piece which showed a uterus with each Fallopian tube 'flipping the bird' at the viewer. This was in protest at the USA's anti-abortion laws.

Ky is seen by many to be an ambassador for natural hair for African women.

Awards

In 2018 she was selected as one of the top twenty young people for On the Rise Côte d'Ivoire a programme run by L’Association des Conseils en Lobbying et Affaires Publiques de Côte d’Ivoire (ACLAP-CI). In same year she was voted one of the Prix Jeunesse Francophone 3535's thirty-five influential young people in the French-speaking world. The following year she was selected by Paper magazine as one of the top '100 People Taking Over 2019'. At the end of that year, she was awarded a contract as a result of the Elite Model competition social media category, in partnership with Tik Tok.