J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere

J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Abebe, 1975
Silver gelatine toned print on barite paper
Courtesy MAGNIN-A, Paris

Abebe, 1975

Since 1950, the artist has worked as a photographer and documented Nigerian life in his work: theatre, music, children, street crafts and similar events. The ‘Hairgears’ and ‘Hairstyles’, integral parts of the culture of Nigeria, were independent projects. Although these hairstyles are known to be highly coded, ‘Okhai Ojeikere was more interested in collecting them (his archive amounts to around 1500 different hairstyles) for the aesthetic added value and intrinsic life of the form than for the information or message behind it. Gently but purposefully, the camera corrects the ethnographic gaze – a constantly enquiring gaze that always wants to know.