unnamed photo by: J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere

unnamed photo by: J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere

J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere was born in 1930, in Ojomu Emai, Nigeria. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria. Ojeikere started his career in 1961 as a still photographer with ta Nigerian TV station and in 1975 opened his own studio, Photo Ojeikere. Ojeikere wanted to map the culture of his native country in different ways. In 1967 he joined the Nigerian Arts Council, and during their festival of the following year he began to take series of photographs dedicated to Nigerian culture. Starting in 1968, Ojeikere started photographing various hairstyles he sees. He has photographed these hairstyles on the streets, at work, and at celebrations.

There are hundreds of ethnic groups in Nigeria, each with its own traditions. Among other things which are part of these traditions are various hairstyles. There are special hairstyles for different social occasions, such as marriage, and for social positions in families. The “Hair Style” project is composed of nearly 1,000 black and white photo images.

 I love the way J.D. ‘Okai Ojeikere thought to capture the many culture of Nigeria through the photography of the hairstyles. I would love to learn what each of the hairstyles symbolized or for what event they were created. Ojeikere asked everyone that he photographed, nut I could not find where this information might be accessible. I selected two pieces from Ojeikere collection to show the extreme diversity in the styling. I felt the first had an almost regal feel to it. The magnificent fabric and clever folds created bring art to fashion. The second is truly amazing since it is created with only hair. All I can say is “Wow!”

Please enjoy these as much as I do.