At the De La Warr Pavilion: J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere – “Hairstyles and Headdresses”

Downstairs at the De la Warr, they are all about the Ladybird illustrations.  I may go back to them but today my interest was diverted by the rather splendid survey of black and white images of Nigerian hairstyles taken by J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere.

The survey began in 1968 and ended only with his death in 2013.  That’s 45 years of photographing some of the most incredible, tortuous and beautiful hairstyles that you can imagine. The style of the images collected here barely changes – the one above is as good an example of the type as any other – but what draws you in is both the detail of the work that has gone into the hair and the reasoning behind its creation.  For example, one particular style was a reaction to economic news, several are only worn on highly select occasions.  It is a door into what is, from a Bexhill seafront perspective, a completely different world.

There are around 50 images here – headdresses are included as well – and it is well worth an explore.  Another excellent and intriguing exhibition, for free, on the East Sussex coast.


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