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Tignon Headwrap History
Eufronina Hisnard
Photography: Inkjet print on cotton paper with archival pigment.

Eufronina Hisnard was a native to New Orleans, she was the daughter to Maria Grondel, described as “negre libre” and her father was Don Francisco Hisnard, making the daughter “mulata libre”. At fifteen years old, Eufronina becomes the concubine (not married by choice or force) to Don Nicolas Vidal who arrival in 1791 to New Orleans as the war auditor, by 1792 they begin cohabiting. Together they have three children, one who died seven days after birth. New Orleans had an unhealthy semitropical climate and low-lying mosquito infested terrain, took the lives of children at young ages with diseases like smallpox, yellow fever, influenza, and malaria.

When France ceded Louisiana in 1803, the Hisnards moved to Pensacola, where Don Nicolas died and named Eufronina and their daughters as heirs. This image is based on the painting titled “A Lady Attended by a Servant” by Brunias, an Italian painter commissioned to the Caribbean by the British, made record of the changing society through colonization, the effect was Afro-European families. The Spanish government believe in “limpieza sangre” the purity of blood, no longer being applied to religion, but rather skin color, to protect Spanish identities and the distribution of wealth.

The Spanish laws and customs purposely maintained inequalities based on: race, gender, religion, occupation, wealth, and lineage. It was their belief that it went against nature for all people to be equal.

The Tignon was to be used as a symbolic tool of oppression, aimed at the beauty of African descendant women, and to create division among the non-conventional lifestyle choices. However, with the mutual benefits, some white European males could formulate liaisons outside of traditional marriage without social stigma, despite the views of the governor, and the women, both slave and free could acquire freedom, property, and/or status and influence. Despite what might be perceived as a “positive” experience of consensual partnerships, there were distinct disadvantages to informal unions, the free women of color might have secured some privileges for themselves and their children, however overall public opinion condemn them as lewd, lascivious, and licentious in New Orleans and throughout the Americas.

Copyright Owner: Chesley Antoinette
Photo Credit: JD Moore
Stylist: Courtney Guy
Make-up: Steven Hill
Model: Hailee Dryer
LeTempest Barnes

Edition of 5