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Untitled, HG-689-05

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Nigeria (photographed)
    Paris (printed)

  • Date:

    2005 (photographed)
    2012 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ojeikere, J. D. 'Okhai (Mr), born 1930 - died 2014 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

  • Museum number:

    E.230-2013

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Photographer J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere (1930-2014) was born in the village of Ovbiomu-Emai in Southwest Nigeria. He began to document Nigerian culture in 1967 while part of the arts council, which was established following the country’s independence from British colonial rule in 1960.

His photographs include examples of the elaborate headties traditionally worn by Nigerian women, known as ‘gele’. The standardised rear view format of Ojeikere’s photographs of gele link them to his larger series of modern and traditional Nigerian hairstyles photographed in the same way. Both series focus on the artistry of the forms created, which Ojeikere referred to as ‘sculptures for a day’.

Gele are traditionally tied at the back using asọ-oke; a stiff, hand woven cloth which can be manipulated to stand away from the head, creating dramatic shapes. The head wraps originate from the Yoruba people in Southwest Nigeria. They are now largely worn for ceremonial occasions. Yoruba culture places great emphasis on the head and both gele and hairstyling became ways to convey social status.

The V&A acquired eight photographs by J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere documenting hairstyles and headties as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Physical description

A black and white photograph of a black woman wearing an elaborate headtie seen from the back. The photograph is taken from the shoulders upwards against a plain background. The woman wears a patterned outfit with cap sleeves. Her headtie is created with patterned fabric tied at the back of her head on the left side so that the fabric fans out in rough folds much wider than her head.

Place of Origin

Nigeria (photographed)
Paris (printed)

Date

2005 (photographed)
2012 (printed)

Artist/maker

Ojeikere, J. D. 'Okhai (Mr), born 1930 - died 2014 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

Width: 30 cm image, Height: 30 cm image, Width: 38 cm paper, Height: 38 cm paper

Object history note

The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Descriptive line

Photograph by J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, 'Untitled, HG-689-05', from the series Headties, gelatin silver print, Nigeria, 2005, printed 2012

Labels and date

Text label for the exhibition, 'Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s
16 February – 24 May 2015

J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere (1930 – 2014)
HD-849/75 (Abebe); HD-176/70 (Fro Fro);
HD-14/69 (Pineapple); HD-557/74 (Beri Beri)
From the series Hairstyles
1969 – 75
Untitled, HG 423-04; Untitled, HG-535-04;
Untitled, HG-457-04; Untitled, HG-689-05
From the series Headties
2004 – 5
In these photographs, Ojeikere documented traditional
and modern hairstyles and headties worn by Nigerian
women. He photographed his subjects using the same
rear view perspective, focusing on the intricate patterns
and shapes created by the hair and fabric. Ojeikere’s
photographs capture the artistry of the forms, which
he described as ‘sculptures for a day’.

Gelatin silver prints
Museum nos. E.227 to 234-2013 [16/02/2015-24/05/2015]

Production Note

This photograph was printed in Paris from the original negative, then sent to Nigeria for approval, then shipped to London

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Cloth; Patterns; Woman; Folds; Headties

Categories

Photographs; African Diaspora; Fashion; Women's clothes

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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