Qôca by Ammar Yonis

Artist Statement

Qôca, a series demonstrating the joy that could exist if afro-textured hair wasn’t seen as a foreign element in corporate settings. With internship applications opening soon, I hesitate, knowing that sooner or later I’ll have to submit a video interview. In the past I’ve wondered if I’ve already jeopardised an opportunity by not conforming to the image of professionalism that I’ve been exposed to my whole life.

This project follows a group of young men with various hair styles navigating their way through a professional space whilst asserting dominance and comfort. The truth is, a lot of young people with afro-textured hair are discouraged from pursuing professional opportunities because they exist in spaces that they struggle to associate with, spaces that do not promote their version of natural hair.

Qôca tries to imagine what it would feel like for a group of people to exist comfortably in an environment they would otherwise feel unwelcome in.

The word Qôca is a word closely associated with hair in Harari and it directly translates to ‘cut it’. Qôca cigar kha!”

Qôca by Ammar Yonis

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Photography by Ammar Yonis
Assistant director: Mahad Hagi
Models: Abdalla Omar, Azam Hassan, Daniel Niva, Zuher Feki

Ammar Yonis. Photograph by Zuher Feki
About Ammar Yonis

Ammar Yonis is a first-generation Harari-Australian, based in Melbourne’s west. Apart from being an engineering student, he dedicates time to exploring his creativity through mediums such as photography. He believes art encourages exploration of the unknown and promotes understanding between people. His experiences with creative expression have supported a greater freedom from the pressures that come with a third culture upbringing. His debut project Homage was exhibited in ‘Clearing The Shadow’, (December 2019) and demonstrated his deeply vested interest in facilitating dialogue between a diversity of voices whilst fostering an atmosphere of reflection.

Instagram: @brotherammar

Image credit: Ammar Yonis. Photo by Zuher Feki.

Qôca by Ammar Yonis is created for Shelter 2020.

Featured Image
Ammar Yonis. Photo by Zuher Feki.