This beautiful and colourful photo album Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty is a must have for everyone in Nollywood and followers of Nollywood in the world.
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The cinema of Nigeria is often referred to as Nollywood, a term coined in the mid-1990s to describe Nigeria’s vibrant, film industry consisting of movies produced in the country but watched all over Africa and largely by Africans in the diaspora.
This book presents a selection of photographic portraits by Iké Udé depicting some of the major Nigerian actors and actresses, television presenters, directors, and producers. With his ongoing photographic self-portraits, Nigerian-born Iké Udé explores a world of dualities: photographer/performance artist, artist/spectator, mainstream/marginal, African/postnationalist, individual/everyman, and fashion/art. As a Nigerian-born, New York–based artist conversant with the world of fashion and celebrity, Udé gives conceptual aspects of performance and representation a new vitality, melding his own theatrical selves and multiple personae with his art.
About the Authors
Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is an American historian, literary critic, filmmaker and public intellectual. Chigozie Obioma (born 1986) is a Nigerian writer shortlisted for the 2015 Booker Prize and has been described, in a New York Times book review, as “the heir to Chinua Achebe.” Olu Oguibe is a Nigerian-born American artist and intellectual, Professor of Art and African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Sarah Nuttall is Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies and Director of WiSER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) in Johannesburg South Africa. Helen Trompeteler is Curator of Photographs of the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK. Toni Kan holds both M.A and B.A degrees in English Literature from the Universities of Lagos and Jos (in Nigeria) respectively and is the author of 4 critically acclaimed works of fiction and poetry. Osahon Akpata has contributed articles to several magazines and blogs, including Vogue Italia, Forbes Africa, and ONE Blog. Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan author, journalist, and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing.
Starting in the early 1990s, Nollywood has quickly gained worldwide relevance as the world’s second most prolific film industry (almost 2,000 titles released annually) ahead of Hollywood and behind Bollywood with revenues topping $600 million annually. Historically, film in Africa had a European sensibility with parochial scenes laboriously captured on expensive celluloid, owing to the colonial funders. Nollywood, in contrast is characterized by independent cheap and quick filmmaking, capitalizing on the falling prices of digital recording equipment and meeting the demands of a continent for authentic stories that reflect the reality on the ground. An entrepreneurial rags-to-riches story, its producers are private individuals getting little or no assistance from government who make and distribute film across the continent despite infrastructure deficiencies and barriers to trade.
In October 2014, artist Iké Udé returned to Lagos, Nigeria, after three decades away, and took photographs of 64 Nollywood personalities. Udé captured an impressive cross section of the industry including renowned screen icon Genevieve Nnaji, veteran actor Richard Mofe-Damijo, established actor/director Stephanie Okereke, maverick filmmaker Kunle Afolayan, as well as the next generation of rising stars. The objective of this project is to celebrate these African celebrities in the timeless, classic, elegant style the artist is known for. Udé has also created a grand group portrait of all 64 subjects, The School of Nollywood, inspired by Raphael’s The School of Athens, 1509. A publication featuring a forward by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and an introduction by Chigozie Obioma will accompany the exhibition. Like The School of Athens, The School of Nollywood measures 16 ft 5 in x 25 ft 3 in (500 cm x 770 cm).