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Blonde Ambition

Tulani Hlalo


GOLDTAPPED presents Tulani Hlalo’s first solo show in the North East Blonde Ambition

Preview: Friday 7 September 2018 
Open 8 September - 7 October 2018


By appointment only email: 


Free Wig Sculpting workshop 19 September 6 - 8pm  

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Tulani Hlalo (b.1994) in Newcastle upon Tyne, is an artist based in Manchester. She studied BA fine art at Manchester School of Art, graduating in 2017. In Blonde Ambition Hlalo uses humorous videos and sculptural works to deconstruct white hegemonic beauty standards. Hlalo uses her practice as a method of reconnecting with the Zimbabwean heritage she once neglected in her childhood. Although the subjects she touches upon in her work are personal she sees such themes as universal in the context of growing up and existing as mixed race in the UK. 

Coming from a mixed-race heritage, Hlalo felt out of place in Afro Salons, “As a child I didn’t fully understand the reason why, in hindsight it was a sense of personal shame and a combination of being too shy to ask. The fact that I didn’t really know much about my hair or how to look after it myself whilst pending several hours sat in a place which essentially celebrated afro hair in its many forms made me feel uncomfortable.”  Growing up surrounded by perfectly smooth European hair displayed in the media, coupled with the lack of representation of black hair and the North East being demographically whiter, exaggerated this out of place feeling, “It made me more aware of how different my hair was in comparison to my peers”.


The excessive imagery of white beauty standards communicated in the media and white blonde European hair, are naturally unattainable to women of colour. The pastel colours that Hlalo uses in Blonde Ambition mimic those used on hair relaxant packaging. There is reference to systematic racism; where in the past people with afro hair were told to make their hair more “neat” and asked to relax it or face employment termination. Hlalo uses historical references to slavery, the shaming of black appearance and culture, the way that black women see themselves and their hair.

Recent Exhibitions include; Recent Activity Presents, Nomadic Vitrine: Tulani Hlalo - Eastside Projects, Birmingham, 2018, Thanks Dad (solo) - OUTPOST Gallery, Norwich, 2018, Th-th-th-that’s All Folks! (curation) - Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 2018, VIDEOTECA HOMEVIDEO - Progetto Totoppunt, Lecce, 2017 Un)questionable Self - Camden Image Gallery, London, 2017.

Blonde Ambition is hosted and curated by GOLDTAPPED and Mia Cathcart.

Blonde Ambition is hosted and curated by GOLDTAPPED and Mia Cathcart. 

Blonde Ambition is kindly Supported by Arts Council England.

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  1. Weaves like these don’t grow on trees, video, 2017


  2. 21 wigs, video, 2016


  3. No Lye, Blonde synthetic hair, steel, spray        paint, plinth, 2017

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