As with many teenagers, Bahiya began to question her roots and heritage; where did she come from, who were her ancestors, and why did she feel that she was “different.” It was during this time that she was seeking her truth, her roots, her history that she took up a paint brush and began to paint. Here she found her passion for art! Not just art, but African American infused art that took on meaning and significance for her.
In 2001, Bahiya joined the Armed Services and served in the United States Air Force. During this time, she married and had a child, and subsequently, went through a very stressful divorce. At 28 years old, Bahiya was diagnosed with Central Centrifugal Cicatricial Alopecia (CCCA). She didn’t realize how much of an impact it had on her until she began to paint in visual journals. The visual journals were like diaries that helped her express herself, develop her style, and discover what she wanted to do with her art.
Bahiya created her first visual journal November 8, 2019. Each entry had a date, title and a sentence pertaining to the art work. It wasn’t until her journal entry on January 11, 2020 that she discovered she had a style and that her art had a purpose. That day she drew an afro pic in color pencil on black paper and titled it “Black Hair Symbol” with the narrative “The afro pic is the universal black hair symbol. I’m in love with this image. So Powerful”. She made three more entries with combs that day and that’s when she knew she had developed a style and wanted to raise awareness of Alopecia with her art. Bahiya’s Etsy shop is inspired by this hair loss condition.
A little more about Alopecia, there are 15 different types of hair and scalp disorders. However, CCCA is one of the most common causes of hair loss in African American women and has no known cause, treatment or cure. CCCA stands for Central (because it starts at the crown) Centrifugal (because it expands or spreads outward over time) Cicatricial (which is Latin for scarring) Alopecia (which means hair loss). Most women don’t realize that they have the condition without diagnoses and others who receive a diagnosis usually want to keep it a secret.
Bahiya’s mission is to raise awareness and potentially save the crowns of women all over the world. The only way she can do that is by telling her story and educating the community around her. Bahiya is committed to donating a percentage of her profits, from the sale of her art, to the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation (CARF) to help others like her.