When you hear the name J.D Okhai Ojeikere, two things should come to mind: photography and the aesthetic pleasure of Nigerian coiffure. Renowned for his photographs of Nigerian/African inspired hairstyles, his works have been shown around the world and have inspired recreations of the art that is Nigerian hair culture.
In her latest work, CHROMA, Lagos-based photographer Medina Dugger pays homage to the Ojeikere, the late - and iconic - visual artist. The ongoing photo-series draws inspiration from hair color trends and from Ojeikere himself, who photographed over a thousand different Lagos hair styles through a fanciful, contemporary lens.
From Dugger: "The availability of colorful hair extensions and wools in local markets today has led to unique variations on threading and braiding techniques. Chroma is a celebration of traditional and contemporary braiding methods. The series recontextualizes some of Ojeikere’s and other hairstyles to highlight current and imagined hair designs, celebrating the art of Nigerian hair culture."
As an appraisal of African culture, CHROMA spotlights indigenous hairdos, variously named Koloba, Shuku, Kiko, Who Is In The Garden, All Back; all brightly-hued, offering a western twist. "Influenced by social/cultural patterns, historical events and globalization, these hairstyles range from being purely decorative to conveying deeper, more symbolic understandings, revealing social status, age and tribal/family traditions."