577. Nigerian Portraits, Style, and Hair Art

The Gele

When it comes to matching the head dress with the real dress, I think these ladies got it going on. The hat is called an “Auto Gele,” and I know zero about fashion but I know they are pretty cool.

And while we are on headwear, check this out…

And these black and white portraits…

Nigerian Photographers

And now for Nigerian Hair Art & it’s cool. Very cool.

Nigerian Hair Styles

In the work of J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere (1930-2014), we see hair as storytelling. Over nearly half a century, the renowned photographer documented thousands of intricate, gravity-defying hairstyles that were the fashion in his native Nigeria after it won independence from the British Empire in 1960.

J.D.

Before then, hairstyles were social markers symbolizing marital status, ethnic origins, socioeconomic class. With Nigerian independence, they took on political meaning too.

Ojeikere’s work seems to have had a threefold purpose. He captured the resurgence of indigenous hairstyles that had fallen from favor under colonial powers. He documented hairstyle innovations as citizens reestablished their identity. And after a time, his approach became more archival, to preserve the memory of the styles in the face of globalization.

When it comes to style, Nigeria got it going on. These were all too good not to share.

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