For me, the Victorian mourning dress is a symbol of sadness, “high” culture, the British Empire, and the constraints of feminine beauty norms. Here, I have made one out of African “hair” – actually a synthetic material created specifically for use in African-style braiding techniques. The work underlines African hairstyles as a craft as refined as any decorative art produced in Europe; it alludes to the invisible labour of the thousands of Africans who contributed to the wealth of the British Empire; and it references the story of Sarah Baartman, an African woman whose silhouette helped shape 19th Century European fashion. The dress rises from a bed of cotton bolls and African hair bolls, a mythic figure born of the cross-cultural forces of colonialism, commerce, and slavery. I wear my African-Canadian identity much as a Victorian woman would have worn this type of dress: proudly, but also uncomfortably, shaped but also constrained by it.