The phenomenal J.D. Okhai Ojeikere was raised in Southwestern Nigeria in a village where photography was an exotic luxury. In 1950, he bought a modest Brownie D camera, and a neighbor taught him the rudiments of photography and the rest is history. The Hairstyle series, which consists of close to a thousand photographs, is the largest and the most thorough segment of Ojeikere’s archive. The photographs provide us with an opportunity to look back at what was in vogue in the 1960s and to make comparisons with hair styles of today. For me, the hairstyles took me back to my primary & secondary school days where 'thread' hair styles were in vogue (ok maybe not in vogue, but the norm) and when girls showed their creativity through their hairstyles like 'clap', 'shuku' & 'calabar'. I remember how we all couldn't wait to get our 'weaves did' & flip our hair back like the oyinbo kids do. But after seeing these photographs I'm saddened at how alot of us have lost our creativity and culture and i hope we can all find a balance between these western inspired hair styles (i.e. the brazilian hair frenzy) and our cultural hairstyles which are refreshingly distinct. They symbolize who we are not only as a country, but as individuals.
“All these hairstyles are ephemeral. I want my photographs to be noteworthy traces of them. I always wanted to record moments of beauty, moments of knowledge. Art is life. Without art, life would be frozen.” J.D. Okhai Ojeikere