Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday is the second in MoAD’s Curator’s Choice Series. Curated by Olabisi Silva, Director of the Contemporary Centre for Art, Lagos, this first showing of the work of Nigerian national treasure J.D. Ojerikere on the West Coast, is about preserving cultural traditions in the face of Nigeria’s change from colonial rule to independence. Ojerikere’s photographs, which date from 1955 to 2008, document traditional dress and hairstyles along with the Western-style adaptations that enabled the youth of Lagos to feel themselves part of the modern world. Many, Ojerikere included, feared that these sartorial transformations (that is, the Western fashions) would diminish the importance of Nigerian traditions and culture among the youth. Yet, as Ojerikere’s photographs show, traditional styles continued to be ever-present sartorial expressions of what it means to be Nigerian.
Sartorial Moments is the first of several exhibitions at MoAD that will examine the effects of African and Caribbean independence movements on Africans both in Africa and in the global diaspora. The next exhibition in the series, opening in fall 2013, is Cultivating Crosscurrents: African and Black Diasporas in Dialogue, 1960-1975.
On view at MoAD from June 20 to September 29, 2013.