J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere

Nigerian, b. 1930

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J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere

Nigerian, b. 1930

428
Followers
Biography

Since the 1960s, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere has been documenting the culture of his native Nigeria in exquisite black-and-white photographs, capturing the elegance and exuberance of its celebrations, ceremonies, and daily life. He has amassed thousands of images, which together form an anthropological and ethnographic record that is considered to be a national treasure. With his keen eye for composition and attention to detail, Ojeikere finds art everywhere, as he describes: “I always wanted to record moments of beauty, moments of knowledge. Art is life.” This approach fuels his ongoing “Hairstyles” project (begun 1968), an internationally celebrated visual taxonomy of the hairstyles and headdresses worn by Nigerian women, captured at close range, often from behind. For Ojeikere, these hairstyles—from scalp-hugging braids to stunning sculptural forms—are ephemeral works of art, a notion that his photographs clearly affirm.

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Emerging representation
Represented by up-and-coming galleries.
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Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
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Reviewed by a major art publication
Flash Art
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Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition
Biography

Since the 1960s, J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere has been documenting the culture of his native Nigeria in exquisite black-and-white photographs, capturing the elegance and exuberance of its celebrations, ceremonies, and daily life. He has amassed thousands of images, which together form an anthropological and ethnographic record that is considered to be a national treasure. With his keen eye for composition and attention to detail, Ojeikere finds art everywhere, as he describes: “I always wanted to record moments of beauty, moments of knowledge. Art is life.” This approach fuels his ongoing “Hairstyles” project (begun 1968), an internationally celebrated visual taxonomy of the hairstyles and headdresses worn by Nigerian women, captured at close range, often from behind. For Ojeikere, these hairstyles—from scalp-hugging braids to stunning sculptural forms—are ephemeral works of art, a notion that his photographs clearly affirm.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Top emerging
Emerging representation
Represented by up-and-coming galleries.
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Flash Art
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition