The Next Generation
Meanwhile, the series The Next Generation depicts portraits of young women with untouched, natural afro hair, and implores “mothers with memories of being told their hair was ‘bad’ and ‘unattractive’” to instead instill their children with a sense of “pride and love” for their natural hair.
How did you get into photography? I started off taking it at sixth form to fill in the time as I concentrated on other A-levels such as Psychology, but it ended up being the one which most challenged me. I had to think in a completely different way than I was used to. The last 2 years have been pivotal to the direction of my photography. The decision to refocus my photography on my identity as a British-Nigerian, femininity and the less spoken narratives of West African heritage, remains my motivation to keep pushing.
Who are some of the artists who inspire you? You have previously mentioned J.D Ojeikere and his iconic Hairstylesseries, where do you see your work in relation to this? As an extension of this conversation? I always revisit Carrie Mae Weems and her unforgettable Kitchen Table series. I sometimes mediate on it as a reminder to keep portraying the stories of black women, keep portraying stories of myself. Because who better to tell my truth, than me? Other late greats, such as Seydou Keïta , Malick Sidibé, Irving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe are photographers, who for me, were visionaries on the merging of art and fashion.
It’s so funny, because with J.D’s work, I actually saw his images in-between shooting mine. I will say though that this wasn’t really a continuation of a conversation, because in some ways the conversation around the underlying symbolisms of these hairstyles, the messages that were once so important have been lost within contemporary society and not been spoken on enough.