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Melissa Starker, Creative Content & PR Manager
Jan 01, 2017
For over a year, there's been a unique element to every Wexner Center exhibition that until now, has mainly been in-house knowledge, and it's too good not to share. A member of the Wex security team since fall 2014, Nigerian-born Titilayo Mumuni does her homework on the programming in addition to keeping watch on the building, and when a new exhibition opens, she debuts a new hairstyle to fit with it. Most recently, that meant long, free-flowing spirals to go with the loose approach to formal education of Black Mountain College, the subject of Leap Before You Look. I asked Titi about it a while back, and her response reflects a commitment to the center that's shared by everyone from docents to Director. Her story feels like a perfect way to wrap up a week of counting our blessings from the past year before forging ahead in 2017. Expect a new 'do from Titi in early February with the openings of Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight and Sarah Oppenheimer: S-337473.
"It's very customary with me, with each exhibition. I like to because they usually have publications before the actual exhibition. So as a security officer, it gives me the opportunity to research the artist, the artworks, or any adjunct thing concerning the exhibition. Then I look for the theme that I want my hair to fit and the atmosphere of the exhibition, without necessarily altering the dress code. In fact, there was one exhibition about Noah Purifoy, and it was so wonderful, I had my afro at certain times, and other times I put beads in there – something afrocentric. And I remember one day I was in the gallery, and somebody – a guy stood there for a couple of moments and then he told me, for a moment, 'I thought you were a statue!' I giggled, but then another moment during the same exhibition, another guy came in and [said I fit well with Purifoy's Rags and Old Iron II (After Nina Simone)]. The Wexner has many faces – you are one of them. When you get a compliment like that, when each face projects itself like that to the public, it's good for the Wexner itself.
"What informed me with Black Mountain is, it's about humanities. I expect this to attract many students—humanities classes, social sciences, that kind of thing. And students want something... I won't say freaky, but hey, we're talking about a cultural exchange, enlightenment, something I know but you don't, or something you know that I don't and you need to enlighten me. We need to leave this world in a very peaceful and joyful way. And that is me—joy, I just love happy people around because I'm happy and I want you to be happy...
"The academic and immediate communities that the Wexner Center serves are not in a redundant or stagnated mode. They want to see creativity that bubbles. Each individual, each department brings to the table what they have, and then when the community outside the Wexner sees, they say, that's a place we need to go chill. That's a place we need to go support and put our money. That's a place we need to go when we have family over the weekend or holidays. We say our look says a lot about where we work and where we represent, so every fraction gives off a lasting effervescence of fragrance – that is my own strong opinion. Anywhere I am, I like to make the place bubble, regardless of the title or the job description. People just have to be happy. You've got to be. I don't know what you went through prior to coming here but I don't want you to have a sour face. I must make you smile. As long as I'm posted here at the Wexner, every patron that I come in contact with, I have to dialogue. I have to make them feel comfortable, like the Wexner is a family. We represent a great community. That's why I change my hair for every exhibition. My hair must go with the flow. Whatever the theme is that I research prior to the exhibition, I make my hair go with it."