Musée National du Mali

Commissaire / Curator : Bisi Silva

Internationally revered for his stunning photo
graphs of Nigerian neo-traditional hairstyles and
headdresses known as gele, Nigerian photogra
pher J. D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere (1930 – 2014) produced a
voluminous archive of photographic work during
his career, which spanned more than six decades.
Ranging from eloquent analyses of hair culture
and fashion to trenchant studies of architecture,
this monographic exhibition examines Ojeikere’s
photographic investigations of Nigeria through the
lens of individual subjectivity and nationalist aspirations
during the era of modernity.

The exhibition, the first of its kind in Mali, presents
a corpus of images that address modernity
from a multiplicity of perspectives with photographs charting
the construction and completion of modern buildings beginning in the 1950s, the expression of cosmopolitan identities across rural and urban localities,
and elaborate methods of styling hair and headdresses.
Unified by their formal compositions, black-and-white aesthetic, and ingenious use of light, Ojeikere’s photographs as a whole, offer a visual chronology of social, cultural, and political transitions in Nigeria while also charting the evolution of Ojeikere’s technical development.


Institut Français
Ministère de la Culture de l’Artisanat et du Tourisme du Mali