Iké Udé’s Nollywood Portraits Shown at Columbia College Chicago

Iké Udé's Nollywood Portraits Shown at Columbia College Chicago

Iké Udé, in a recent interview, claims that Nollywood… is this huge, immeasurable cultural force… originating from Africa and authored by and for Africans and inevitably the world. Udé recently had the opening reception of his exhibition, Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty on October 20, 2016. The exhibition is set to close on December 23, 2016. His project featured portraits of 64 prominent Nigerian film stars and producers including Big Brother’s Uti Nwachukwu, veteran actors Richard Mofe-Damijo and Tinsel star Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett. In executing this project, he paid close attention to each figure from the manner that their hands rested to the angle of their bodies to the camera.


Iké Udé, Kunle Afolayan, 2014-16. Pigment on satin rag paper 36.467 x 40.667 in/ 92.63 x 103.29cm

Each of the celebrities was presented in a timeless, classic style that the artist has adopted. His signature use of bold colours, as well as a mixture of historical poses from ancient Egypt to more contemporary styles is evident in his portraiture. The images also feature elaborate costumes and extensive postproduction.

from left to right:

Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, pigment on satin regular paper. 30.467 x 40.667 in/ 77.39 x 103.29cm

Uti Nwanchukwu, pigment on satin regular paper. 34.467 x 40.667 in/ 92.63 x 103.29cm

Genevieve Nnaji, pigment on satin regular paper. 36.547 x 40 in/ 92.83 x 101.6cm

Udé was originally trained as a painter, and this is clearly visible in the painstaking hours spent in layering the backdrop. Today, a renowned portrait photographer and stylist, he is one of the world’s best-dressed men, a trait that is brought to the fore in the way he put together and arranged the costumes of the subjects of his portraits. Here he acclaims the growing vibrant culture of Nollywood movies, as well as the amount of progress the industry has made since its inception in the early 90s. A highlight of the exhibition is Udé’s Nollywood School – a group of individuals who collectively define the Nigerian film culture or movement, which he spent 2 years (2014 – 2016) carefully seaming together each of the portraits to create a mural in a style reminiscent of Raphael’s masterpiece, The School of Athens.


Iké Udé, School of Nollywood, 2014 – 2016. UV ink on photographic SL Linen 16.5 x 25.3 in/ 7.7 x 5m

Udé’s work draws on a historical genre that celebrates popular culture while depicting a future that Nigerians hope for themselves and their film industry.



Images credits: http://www.mocp.org/exhibitions/2016/10/nollywood-portraits.php?utm_source=Museum+of+Contemporary+Photography+List&utm_campaign=921b7f27bf-Nov_2016_eNews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_3550931297-921b7f27bf-59496917

Ateroghene Almaz Akpojiyovbi holds a first degree in Social Science - with majors in both Law and Psychology from the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. She has also earned a Post-graduate Diploma in Psychology from Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom. She enjoys a widespread genre of music - from Broadway show tunes to rock, and spends her time updating her collection.

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