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Traditional Nigerian hair exhibition opens in UK this month

HAIR RAISING: A photo taken in 1975 by famous photographer J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere

A SELECTION of photos depicting traditional Nigerian hairstyles and headdresses taken by Nigeria's most beloved photographer will be on show in a Nottingham exhibition.

From this moth onwards, visitors will be invited to immerse themselves in the rich culture of Nigeria at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, where the work of renowned African artist J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere is being put on display for the first time in the UK.

The collection, encompassing 1,000 photographs taken over 40 years, documents the evolution, the beauty and, at heart, the tradition of Nigerian hairstyles and headdresses across the years.

The elaborately sculpted hair is intensified with a black and white filter painstakingly reprinted from the original negatives for the exhibit.

TRADITIONS: The photo exhibition also includes headdresses

Gillian Fox, curator for the Hayward Touring Exhibition that is housing the J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere: Hairstyles and Headdresses exhibit said: “It is an incredible opportunity for Hayward Touring to exhibit the work of Nigeria's most beloved photographer.

“Ojeikere’s original intent may have been a social document, but what in fact was produced was an extended love letter to his country and its culture.”

Ojeikere captured the cultural diversity of Nigeria in his photographs by throwing himself into the culture, attending weddings and birthdays, exploring how the intricate styles symbolised family tradition and often the social status of the model.

Melanie Kidd the director of programmes at New Art Exchange explains the importance of this collection, “Ojeikere’s Hairstyle series truly celebrates diverse perspectives in art, exploring culturally significant traditions and the rich history of Nigeria through aesthetically beautiful images.

"We are excited to share these images with new audiences and stimulate new ideas and conversations around the series.”

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