A Nigerian-born photographer based in New York, USA, Iké Udé, will break new ground this June when he holds his first photography exhibition in Nigeria. The exhibition will take place at Alliance Française at Mike Adenuga Centre, 9, Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos from June 1 – 16, 2019.
Titled ‘Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty’, Udé will be offering a substantial presentation of his portraits of members of Nigeria’s vibrant movie scene, Nollywood.
In the solo exhibition, Udé will orchestrate a dramatic cinematic atmosphere of light and colour, whereby the industry’s illustrious veterans, in company with the next generation of emerging talent pose in classically staged shots.
Pictorial representation will include personalities such as actress Genevieve Nnaji, director Stephanie Okereke Linus and filmmaker Kunle Afolayan. In all, 64 Nollywood personalities captured in the elegant style of the artist will feature in the exhibition
The thematic thread that intertwines this body of work, culminates in the centrepiece of the collection titled ‘The School of Nollywood’. The title is both play on, and departure from the artistic opulence of one of Raphael Sanzio Urbino’s notable fresco, The School of Athens (1509). The painting is of a grandiose architectural framework, depicting prominent philosophers of Greek antiquity, posed in a manner whereby they dominate but do not crowd their environment.
With these works of portraiture, Udé complements the discourse on the representation of Africans in cinema, from colonial domination and inferior stereotypes to one of intellect and creative agency in telling our own stories.
Udé is an aesthete, dandy, writer and founder of the seminal artfashion print magazine aRUDE, 1995-2009. In addition to the accompanying coffee table book, Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty published by Skira in 2016, he is also the author of Style Files: The World’s Most Elegantly Dressed, published by Harper Collins in 2008 and Beyond Decorum published by M.I.T Press in 2000.
Vanity Fair included him in the magazine’s International Best Dressed List in 2009 and 2012. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions and has been reviewed in a number of publications including Art in America, The New Yorker, Art Daily, L’UOMO Vogue, Flash Art, and The New York Times. His articles on fashion and art have been published in magazines and newspapers worldwide.
Throughout his innovative career, Udé’s work has been exhibited at Leila Heller Gallery, New York (2013), the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence (2013), the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis (2014), the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (2014), the Palm Springs Museum of Art, Palm Springs (2015), and the National Academy Museum and School, New York (2015), amongst others. Udé’s work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Museum, Washington D.C., The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museum of Art and Design (MAD), New York, the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT, the Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, NE and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum, Providence, RI. He currently lives and works in New York.