J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere

 

Contemporary Photographers

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“There are hundreds of ethnic groups in Nigeria, each with its own language and traditions. Among other things which are part of these traditions are various hairstyles. These are determined by the social position of the family, and the artistic talent of the hair stylist. Among them there are special hairstyles for ceremonies such as circumcisions, a woman’s becoming an adult, or the celebration of a marriage. Today it is difficult to trace the background of certain hairstyles because various ethnic groups have mixed together, and adapted to modern culture. Many hairstyles have died out, taking their secrets to the grave with them. Since 1968 Ojeikere (b. Nigeria, 1930) has been making photographs of various hairstyles he sees on the street or at work, or at celebrations. He always asks his models where the hairstyle they are wearing comes from, what its meaning is, its name, and its history.” (source) See some of the photos here, and note the similarities in style and intent with the Bechers’ work.