Event Title

Who is Neotraditional?: Visualizing Postcolonial Identities in J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere's Hairstyles Photographs

Location

King Building 339

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-28-2017 4:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 5:50 PM

Abstract

Photographer J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere captured postcolonial attitudes and aesthetics, from Nigerian independence up to his death in 2014. This essay uses ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s photograph Onile Gogoro, a portrait of the 1960’s Nigerian hairstyle, to formulate a sense of identity in postcolonial Nigeria. Specifically, this essay considers the description of Ojeikere’s works as “neotraditional”: a term applied to contemporary works, usually from non-Western nations, that are produced using traditional modes or aesthetics. This paper uses histories of photography in Africa, previous scholarship on Ojeikere’s works, and theories of postcolonialism to interrogate his oeuvre. Ojeikere’s images show how photography attempts a balance between imagined or real, fixed or unfixed, and othering or affirming representations of the postcolonial Nigerian subject.

Keywords:

photography, plaited hair, history of photography in Africa, postcolonialism, postmodernism, museums

Notes

Session III, Panel 15 - Black | Authorship
Moderator: Gillian Johns, Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies

Major

Art History

Advisor(s)

Erik Inglis, Medieval Art History

Project Mentor(s)

Matthew Rarey, Arts of Africa & the Black Atlantic
Sarah Hamill, Modern & Contemporary Art
Erik Inglis, Medieval Art History

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Apr 28th, 4:30 PM Apr 28th, 5:50 PM

Who is Neotraditional?: Visualizing Postcolonial Identities in J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere's Hairstyles Photographs

King Building 339

Photographer J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere captured postcolonial attitudes and aesthetics, from Nigerian independence up to his death in 2014. This essay uses ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s photograph Onile Gogoro, a portrait of the 1960’s Nigerian hairstyle, to formulate a sense of identity in postcolonial Nigeria. Specifically, this essay considers the description of Ojeikere’s works as “neotraditional”: a term applied to contemporary works, usually from non-Western nations, that are produced using traditional modes or aesthetics. This paper uses histories of photography in Africa, previous scholarship on Ojeikere’s works, and theories of postcolonialism to interrogate his oeuvre. Ojeikere’s images show how photography attempts a balance between imagined or real, fixed or unfixed, and othering or affirming representations of the postcolonial Nigerian subject.