Oreet Ashery, Hairoism, 2009-2011
Oreet Ashery

Oreet Ashery (*1966, Israel, UK) lives and works in London. Her work operates on the intersections between Jewishness, race, gender and the Arab and Muslim world. During 2006 her on–going project "Welcome Home" focused on the Palestinians’ right to return. In 2017, she received the Jarman Film Award. Ashery’s work has been shown extensively in museums, at cinemas, festivals, galleries, on streets, the Internet, and in site-specific installations.

artist's website: oreetashery.net

As a reflection on Eleanor Antin’s silent movie The King from 1972, which shows the artist transforming herself into her male alter ego, Oreet Ashery has her head shaved in the performance Hairoism. Once she is bald, she takes hair donated to her by the audience and imitates the hairstyles of four famous men – the commander in chief of the Israeli army in the 1950s, Moshe Dayan, the Hamas member Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzouk, the current Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is notorious for his extreme views, and Yasser Arafat / Ringo Starr.
Throughout this process, the amount of hair on her head increases to fit the hair of the four protagonists, starting with the almost hairless Moshe Dayan and ending with the full beard and the full head of hair of Yasser Arafat / Ringo Starr. In the end, the two assistants taking part in the performance begin gluing more and more hair on Ashery’s body and head.
The performance is documented in 5 Polaroid pictures taken during Ashery’s transformation into a hairy monster. The video consists of found footage of the four public figures.

Courtesy Oreet Ashery

Document media
5 photographs, 4 posters, video: colour, sound, 20:00 min

Issue date

To be seen in
Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 7 October 2011 – 15 January 2012

be-coming, conflict, de/construct identities, masculinity, metamorphosis, queer/drag, trash, violence