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27/09/14

Art hair con J.D.Okhai Ojeikere


Oramai l'arte include tutto per cui è perfettamente in tema la mostra J.D. Okhai Ojeikere: Hairstyles and Headdresses che New Art Exchange di  Nottingham, presenta in collaborazione con la Hayward di Londra, attraverso l'iniziativa Hayward Touring, dal 27 Settembre all'11 Gennaio 2015.




Press Release:

New Art Exchange, Nottingham, presents a Hayward Touring exhibition of Nigerian photographer J.D Okhai Ojeikere’s series of images of ornate hairstyles and headdresses. The elaborately sculpted hair of Ojeikere’s fellow countrywomen is captured in meticulous detail through beautifully composed black and white photographs. The series simultaneously celebrates hairstylin! g as a monumental yet ephemeral art form and represents an extensive visual archive reflecting Nigerian cultural traditions.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest African photographers of the 20th Century, Ojeikere earned international acclaim through his Hairstyle series. This personal project began in 1968 and grew to encompass 1,000 photographs taken over 40 years - only reaching its conclusion following the artist’s death earlier this year. This Hayward Touring show was the first major UK exhibition of his work when it was presented as a part of Southbank Centre’s Women of The World Festival in March 2014.

‘It is an incredible opportunity for Hayward Touring to exhibit the work of Nigeria's most beloved photographer and we are delighted to be working with New Art Exchange as our first tour venue. All of the works in the show were painstakingly reprinted from the original negatives, and the richness and physicality of these forms a direct connection to the very moment of their capture.  Ojeikere’s original intent may have been a social document but what in fact was produced was an extended love letter to his country and its culture.’

Gillian Fox, Curator of the exhibition, Hayward Touring

Utilising both street and studio photography, Ojeikere fastidiously documented the many different fashions and nuanced meanings of his subject matter. These ever-evolving designs symbolised key life events such as weddings or birthdays, and often denoted social status – with unique family hairstyles being passed down through generations. The styles became known by their nicknames, which emerged from either the geographic area they came from, or from the natural and manmade forms they imitated including pineapples, crabs, suspension bridges or towerblocks. To Ojeikere, the hairstyles celebrate uniqueness and reflect the diversity of cultural traditions within Nigeria.

'There are hundreds of ethnic groups in Nigeria, each with its own language, traditions and as many different hairstyles… The hairstyles are never exactly the same; each one has its own beauty...'


 J. D. Okhai Ojeikere

To preserve the rich heritage, Ojeikere labelled each photograph with the hairstyle’s place of origin, meaning, name and its history. This archival approach relates to the artist’s photojournalism background, setting the Hairstyle series against the backdrop of immense social and cultural change following post-colonisation Nigeria.

Alongside the J.D. Okhai Ojeikere Hairstyles collection, New Art Exchange will present two new research based commissions by local artists. Through spending time in and around the numerous barbershops, salons and beauty stores of the Hyson Green region of Nottingham, the artists will be developing work in response to these spaces and the people they meet. Outcomes from these research based commissions will feature at New Art Exchange in different ways over the course of the Ojeikere exhibition.

Ojeireke’s work is held in a variety of public and private collections, including the Tate (London), Getty Museum (Los Angeles), Foundation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain (Paris), Musée du Quai Branly (Paris), Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (Geneva), National Arts Council (Lagos), Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao), Collection Agnes b. (Paris), Jean Pigozzi Collection (Geneva), Smithosian Institution (Washington) as well as the Walther Collection (New York). This collection was presented in the International Pavilion in the Venice Biennale 2013.

The exhibition was developed in collaboration with Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

The exhibition tours to De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea from 28 February - 26 April 2015

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