By a Correspondent
A retrospective of the work of octogenarian photographer, J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, opens on Thursday February 3, at Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg.
Okhai Ojiekere's Work On Display | Source: Artspeakafrica.blogspot.com
Titled 'Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday', the exhibition features a selection of images that interact with notions of modernity and nationalism through fashion.
The photographer, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June 2010, is famous for his documentation of Nigerian hairstyles of the 60s and 70s. However, 'Sartorial Moments', jointly curated by the artistic director of the CCA, Bisi Silva, Monna Mokoena, curator and director at Gallery MOMO, and Foto Ojeikere, is intended to remind the public that, like the celebrated Malick Sidibe of Mali, Ojeikere also recorded the fashions of the independence era through his camera lens.
Photographs on display will feature a variety of Nigerian and Western dressing styles, with the ubiquitous hairstyles and head-ties.
According to Bisi Silva of the CCA, the exhibition will celebrate the various periods of Nigeria's cultural history, as well as mark Nigeria's Golden Jubilee. In addition, it will also celebrate 60 years of "innovative photographic practice" for the master photographer, affectionately known as 'Pa Ojeikere'.
Ojeikere began his photographic career in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, in 1950, with a camera that he got for two pounds sterling. He now has over 5000 photographs in his archives; and his artistic images of hairstyles like 'Onilegogoro', have acquired an iconic status.
Art critic and acclaimed Nigerian photographer, Tam Fiofori, noted that, "To say that Okhai Ojeikere is a master documentary photographer is an understatement. He is a true pioneer in this genre of photography who undertook self-sponsored documentary projects with an eye and vision on the future and permanent relevance."
Ojeikere's work has been exhibited internationally, in a number of countries including France, Japan, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium.
''Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday'' opens on February 3 at Gallery MOMO, 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North at 6.30pm. The exhibition is on display until March 28.
Posted By: Hirum Ndungu
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