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J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere


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.
MEDIUM Gelatin silver print
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)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Samuel S. Mandel, by exchange
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere (Nigerian, 1930–2014). Abebe, 1975 (printed 2010). Gelatin silver print, 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. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2010.33.1_PS20.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2010.33.1_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
RIGHTS STATEMENT © J.D. Okhai Ojeikere I Courtesy Gallery FIFTY ONE and L. Parker Stephenson
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