Instagram Artist Laetitia KY Makes Powerful Art With Her Hair

'I'm an integral part of the art itself.'

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Laetitia KY's Instagram is stunning—that much is obvious from the moment you see it. What might take you a second longer to realise is that KY's art is also a major beauty feat, and one that sends a powerful message.

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KY, who lives in Ivory Coast, started creating art with her hair a little over a year ago and already her account has over 48,000 followers. KY says ideas come to her like a flash, in a very intuitive way, and then she creates her art using simple materials like thread, needles, wire, wool, hair extensions, and of course, herself. 'In fact, I'm an integral part of the art itself,' KY tells ELLE.com, over email. 'It's part of the concept. Maybe down the road I will do it on a certain person. But if I advocate love and self-esteem, self-confidence, [then I can] inspire other black women to be proud of their entire heritage aesthetic.'

Her Instagrams range in emotion and topic, from a playful light bulb to a pistol meant to symbolise her opposition to gun violence.

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But one of her latest pieces, a response to the #MeToo hashtag, has a particularly powerful message behind it. The art itself shows a man lifting up a woman's skirt. In her caption, KY wrote, 'NOTHING JUSTIFIES RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT OR HARASSMENT… Speak out because you don't have to carry this burden alone, talk to help other women who are afraid, talk to start a revolution, talk to change things.' She also wrote that her direct messages were open for anyone who wanted to talk, leading a number of women to write and confide in her.

#metoo Thousands of women are raped every day in the world, but very few are able to talk about it, to complain or fight. Why? Because our "beautiful" society has the tendency to blame the victim almost every time. "" Oh but you should not have to gone out so late !!! "" "" "Ah, but you had a mini skirt" "," "why are you complaining if you agreed to have dinner with him?" "," "dont tell me that you were not trying to seduce him with all that makeup" "... Ladies ... NOTHING JUSTIFIES RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT OR HARASSMENT. Neither your clothing, your make-up, your relationship with the abuser (because even your husband doesnt have the right to force you to have sex if you dont want to, the concept of marital rape exists). There is no enabling circumstance for the abuser and you need to talk about it so that thing starts to change. Don't remain silent, dont let anyone tell you that you have some responsibility in this despicable act !!!! Speak out because you dont have to carry this burden alone, talk to help other women who are afraid, talk to start a revolution, talk to change things. You are not alone. Dont be discouraged even if your direct surrounding makes you feel guilty ... the weight can be difficult to sustain and the battle can be hard but it is worth it !!!!!! It's never too late to speak out. Even if the assault took place 20 years ago, a crime remains a crime so dare to speak out .... dont let anything pass... so those men learn to honor and respect women . Because yes, it is not for you to interfere with your liberty so that they are not tempted but for them to know how to control themself. I repeat it once more, dare to talk about it, dare to SNITCH ON YOUR PIGS... talk to the people around you so they can bring you all the support that the victims desperately need to start the process of healing... My DM is open to anyone who wants to talk. You are not alone.

A post shared by KY (@laetitiaky) on

'As a feminist, everything related to women's issues, including violence done to women, is something that greatly touches me,' KY says. 'I don't think that one needs to be a feminist in order for this kind of thing to affect us. To be human is enough.' For her, joining the #MeToo movement was inevitable. She says that even though she's never been a victim of sexual aggression, sexual harassment is part of her life, and she knew sooner or later she had to speak out.

'What has accelerated things is when a friend of mine told me how she just narrowly escaped rape a few years ago. This revolted me. This wasn't the only woman around me in this situation. I had to scream loudly that something was wrong. I had to join all the courageous women who had started what I consider to be one of the most important battles ever.'

In addition to hair sculpting, KY intends to launch a clothing line and dive into other artistic fields, but she's very aware of how this particular kind of art can affect a social movement like #MeToo.

'Thousands of people can say the same thing without it having the same impact. What makes the difference is the way you say it. Art makes it possible to reach more people because it finds an original, particular way to speak about the subject so that many people will linger.'

And looking at KY's art, you know that's exactly what people will do.


ELLE.com interviewed KY over email and translated her answers from French for this story.

From: Elle
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