To watch a hair artist going through his precise gestures, like an artist making a sculpture, is fascinating. Hairstyles are an art form.

J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere

Celebrating the iconic, creative legacy of Nigerian photographer, JD ‘Okhai Ojeikere.

Remembered as one of the most prolific figures in twentieth century photography, the late Johnson Donatus Aihumekeokhai Ojeikere (aka J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere) was known to have captured over 1,000 iconic images over a career that spanned thirty memorable years.

A proud member of the Nigerian Arts Council, the Keto native travelled across his home region (and surroundings) documenting elements of Nigerian culture, most specifically contemporary and ceremonial hairstyles and depictions of the traditional Nigerian gele (headdress).

‘Okhai Ojeikere remains a seminal figure in Africa’s vast cultural and ethnographic landscape. His images persevering as visual remnants of times and traditions past; visual relics of the continent’s rich cultural and artistic history.

To date, his work has featured in a string of major international venues and exhibition series ranging from the Venice Biennial, Tate Modern and the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain through to the Met Museum.

Here we journey through the iconic photographic legacy of JD ‘Okhai Ojeikere, with a series of hair-centric images featured in Foam Amsterdam’s 2018 exhibition, Structures of Identity: Photography from the Walther Collection.

Image Credit: Untitled [Hairstyles], 1966-75 © J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere / courtesy of The Walther Collection and Galerie Magnin-A, Paris.