J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere – Hairstyles and Headdresses

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J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Onile Gogoro or Akaba, 1975 Gelatin silver print © J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Last chance to see:

This exhibitions closes Sunday 19 April. 

To celebrate the fantastic success of J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere – Hairstyles and Headdresses, which has received 30,000 visits, a day of hair-inspired activities will take place on Sat 18 April at DLWP. (Admission: free).

For details see The Mane Event. 

Hayward Touring is proud to present the first UK touring exhibition of J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere, widely regarded as one of the most important photographers to emerge from Africa in the last sixty years.

Born in Nigeria, Ojeikere took up photography in the 1950s, starting a relationship with an artistic form of expression that defined his life’s work. He ran a commercial studio and was involved in the emerging Nigerian Arts Council, but it was his Hairstyles series – a personal project began in 1968 – that brought international acclaim.

Utilising both street and studio photography, Ojeikere has fastidiously documented the many different fashions and nuanced meanings of his subject matter. These ever-evolving designs symbolised key life events such as weddings or birthdays, and often denoted social status – with unique family hairstyles being passed down through generations. The styles became known by their nicknames, which emerged from either the geographic area they came from, or from the natural and manmade forms they imitated including pineapples, crabs, suspension bridges or towerblocks. To Ojeikere, the hairstyles celebrate uniqueness and reflect the diversity of cultural traditions within Nigeria.

J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Checheezeagu, 2005 Gelatin silver print © J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris.

Ojeikere framed his subjects in a progressively modernist style, which likened these elaborate and intricate designs to art forms and sculptures. He was driven by a desire to record these artistic styles as cultural artefacts, however fleeting, before they disappeared in the wake of cultural modernisation being experienced across Africa following post-colonisation.

The Hairstyles project, which laterally grew to incorporate headdresses, spanned more than forty years and included over 1000 images, but was finally drawn to a close by the artists’ death early in 2013. J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s lasting legacy is this unique typological survey, which provides an enduringly beautiful and powerful insight into Nigerian culture.

Featuring over 50 images printed from the original negatives.

Inspired by this exhibition:

The Mane Event - April 18th

Join us on the penultimate day of the J.D. Okhai Ojeikere: Hairstyles and Headdresses exhibition  to explore ideas about hair and hairstyling.

Free, playful workshops and enlivening activities will take place throughout the building from 10.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m.

The Mane Event: overview

Visit our pop up salon, make crazy, colourful, carnival wigs, produce hair accessories, try out fabulous steampunk styles and more...

Untangling J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere: Hairstyles & Headdresses

Focus On event with  artist and writer Aïcha Daffé. more...

Good Hair (Cert. 12A).

Free screening of Good Hair: booking recommended. more ...


Sat 14 Feb 2015-
Sun 19 Apr 2015

Tickets: Free entry

Booking & Information:
01424 229 111
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