In a thirty-year photographic project, Ojeikere sought to systematically document the rich variety and beauty of the contemporary Nigerian hairstyles he witnessed in daily life. Most of the photographs, like Abebe, were taken from behind, revealing the abstract and sculptural aspects of the hairdos.
Hairstyles are often complex signifiers of identity and social status, particularly for the Yoruba. They can indicate a woman’s age, her occupation, her religious or political power, or even her state of mind. Many hairdos are also tied to specific ceremonies, such as a wedding or the naming ceremony of a child. The abebe (fan) style shown here has an implication of “coolness,” composure, and royalty, qualities that are ideally linked.
- Artist: J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Nigeria, born 1930
- Medium: Gelatin silver photograph
- Dates: 1975 (printed 2010)
- Dimensions: Sheet: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm) Image: 13 3/4 x 13 1/2 in. (34.9 x 34.3 cm) (show scale)
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 2010.33.1
- Credit Line: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel S. Mandel, by exchange
- Rights Statement: © J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, courtesy L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York City
- Caption: J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere (Nigeria, born 1930). Abebe, 1975 (printed 2010). Gelatin silver photograph, Sheet: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel S. Mandel, by exchange, 2010.33.1. © J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, courtesy L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York City
- Record Completeness: Good (60%)