Okhai Ojeikere is the Nigerian photographer best known for his photographs of women’s architecturally complex but beautiful hairstyles. Simply named ‘Hairstyles’ Ojeikere started working on this project in 1968 and would eventually take over one thousand photographs. The intricacy and elaborate nature of how differing all of these hairstyles is truly wonderful and the artistry of geometric shapes, vertical alignment and complex combinations of braiding are never the same in each image.
In 1967 Ojeikere joined the Nigerian Arts Council, and during their festival of the following year he began to take series of photographs dedicated to Nigerian culture. This resulted in this project which documents varying aspects of the anthropological, the ethnographic and simple portraiture. The images would always be taken in a systematic way, directly from behind, the side or sometimes head on. There can be something quite abstract about the images within the complexity of the hairstyles placed on the body which gives them various implications and significance.
You can currently view Ojeikere’s vintage Hairstyles series at the 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia until November 24, 2013