By: Diane Granahan
Malick Sidibé is famous for his masterful studio portraits and candid nightclub photographs filled with proud, smiling Malian youth decked out in the latest fashions. By allowing his subjects to choose how they appear, Sidibé’s photos invoke empowerment and a sense of belonging for each individual.
J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere is most known for his photos of elaborate Nigerian hairstyles and headgear. However, like Malick, Ojeikere’s photography is a means to record the transient creativity that articulates Nigerian social and cultural life.
Both photographers’ work give a positive nod towards Africa – be it through joy and exuberant expression, or going against colonial visualization to present the modern subject in charge of their own identity and representation.
Ojeikere passed away this February, leaving behind an archive of over 10,000 photographs. A new monograph with over 200 of his photos is currently being published by The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos.
If you’re in Seattle, you can see both artists’ work at the M.I.A Gallery now through January 3rd, 2015.
More info here: http://www.m-i-a-gallery.com