jd *okhai ojeikere, nigerian photographer: sartorial

June 20th - September 29, 2013
J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere aka Ojomu Emai
Photographs leave traces of your passage to everyone
• The work of Okeikere has two purposes:
▫ Document examples of hairstyles which are an art form in
▫ Esthetic project: I have formed a collection of hairstyles
created by one person, worn by another and
photographed by a third.
• A collection built over three decades where each photo can
exist independently
Gelatin Silver Prints – process in place since 1878
The Gelatin-silver process is the photographic process used
with black and white films and printing papers.
A suspension of silver salts in gelatin is coated onto acetate
film or resin coated paper and allowed to dry (dry plate).
These materials remain stable for months and years unlike
the 'wet plate' materials that preceded them.
ONILE GOGORO OR AKABA – The name refers to tall building or ladder. The style is
worn by all for special society events HD 275/75 (HD hairdo or hairstyle: number of
first shot/year taken)
A MILLION BRAIDS - The name refers to the numerous braids, mainly for the youth,
for everyday use. HD 1099/99
SIKU ELEYO- A version of Suku with a very interesting zigzag parting. Worn by
women of distinction for very special occasions HD 213/70
• Ojeikere has collected over 1000 hairstyles (photographs), always asking:
▫ permission before taking the photograph and collecting data; where
the hairstyle is from, it’s meaning, name and history
• People were fascinated with hairstyle photographs as research materialUniversity of Lagos sent a research assistant to travel the country for
three months to collect as precisely as possible all information about
• 100’s of ethnic groups in Nigeria each with it’s own language, traditions
and hairstyles
“Context and names of hairstyles are not important and
don’t influence our enjoyment” Ojeikere
“Photographs are both a memory of the past and a witness to a
culture in constant evolution.”
The Lorain Horizon Science Academy in Ohio
“Afro-puffs and small twisted braids, with our without
rubberbands, are NOT permitted. “ 6/13 http://blackgirllonghair.com
"Slave Play"
on a Sugar
Plantation in
Tignon Laws (pronounced tiyon) 1785
This headdress was required by Louisiana Tignon laws in 1785 prescribed
appropriate public dress for females of color in colonial society, where some
women of color & some white women tried to outdo each other in beauty,
dress, ostentation and manners.
In an effort to maintain class distinctions in his Spanish colony at the
beginning of his term, Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró (1785 - 1791)
decreed that women of color, slave or free, should cover their heads with a
knotted headdress and refrain from "excessive attention to dress.
“Mandatory headwear for Creole women in Louisiana during the Spanish
colonial period, and the style was adopted throughout the Caribbean island
communities as well.
1795 - Painting from the Historic
New Orleans Collection.
The gele/headties/wraps have a long cultural history both
in Africa and within the African Diaspora.
1786 Quebec Canada
1796 Rachel Pringle Barbados
Gele is a Yoruba word for headwrap
The Yoruba people are one of the largest ethnic
groups in West Africa, numbering between 30 and
50 million have a long history of design.
Gele’s compliment a women’s
attire, and can compensate for a
not so great looking outfit
Similar to hairstyles gele’s are created for
multiple occasions and represent families
and cultures.
•Social position in family
•Becoming an adult
•Preparing for marriage
•Royal families have their own stylist which
cannot be imitated, a mark of distinction
which command respect. The styles are
often transferred from mothers to
daughter .
Nina’s family attending a wedding in Nigeria
Woman wearing a gele in Nigeria
J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere signing Shiree’s book
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks
Photographs at his Centennial
The Fontanelle Family
American Gothic - 1942
Emerging Man Harlem 1952
Ethel Shariff in Chicago 1963
Author and Screenwriter

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