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The Visual Creators’ Corner: Lakin Ogunbanwo Portrays The Beauty Of Nigerian Brides In New Series

In recognition of the beauty and awesomeness of the Nigerian bride, Fashion Photographer, Lakin Ogunbanwo, has initiated a series he tagged “E wá wo mi (2019),”.

The series, which is out to encapsulate the sacredness of the vail in the Nigerian wedding sequence, exploits the culture surrounding Nigerian brides and marriage ceremonies.

Through this series, which means “come look at me,” the photographer reflects on the nuance of identity — that of the brides and his home country.

The vail bride series is out to showcase the complexity of the Nigerian culture and to counter the parochial narrative concerning the African culture by the western media.

Lakin Ogunbanwo “E wa Wo mi” (Bride Veil) series

Weddings in Nigeria is not a joke. Apart from the huge economic significants of these ceremonies, wedding ceremony brings together not only the couple and their families, but also two community.

The ceremony is basically an array of color-coordinated wedding parties.

The Bride veil series exploit the rich culture of the major tribes in Nigeria including the Igbo, Yoruba, Benin, and Hausa-Fulani communities — and together they paint a rich portrait of Nigerian heritage.

 

Lakin Ogunbanwo “E wa Wo mi” (Bride Veil) series

Ogunbanwo said, the wedding day serves as a day of transformation for the bride. Some of the wedding-day rituals — like Yoruba women serving their new husbands food and drink — are indicative of the broader role they will step into as a wife and later as a mother.

Ogunbanwo’s caption to the series on his Instagram page reads:

WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to present e wá wo mi (*come look at me) – a new photographic series by Nigerian artist Lakin Ogunbanwo. Central to Ogunbanwo’s latest exploration, is the culture surrounding Nigerian brides and marriage ceremonies. He uses veiled portraiture to document the complexity of his culture, and counteract the West’s monolithic narratives of Africa and women.
Ogunbanwo’s interest in expanding the contemporary African visual archive began in 2012 with his acclaimed ongoing project, ‘Are We Good Enough’. In this series, he documents hats worn as cultural signifiers by various ethnic groups in Nigeria. In e wá wo mi Ogunbanwo furthers this investigation by representing the traditional ceremonial wear of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani tribes, amongst others. Rather than objectively archive these as past-traditions, however, he mimics the pageantry of weddings in present Nigeria. He creates elaborate sets of draped fabric as a backdrop for these brides to perform.
The performances these brides carry out are ones of love, familial and cultural pride, feminine strength, and a heterogenous African identity, but they are also the burdens of being wives, mothers and daughters-in-law. The expectation of femininity, and the role of women, are canonised on the wedding day. “From how she dresses, to how she carries herself, to what she is told. She will be fertile, she should be submissive and supportive: These are the things she hears on that day.” Ogunbanwo reflects, “I’ve found weddings to be very performative, and most of the performance generally rests on the bride.” On this day, the bride is admired and observed for her proximity to a constructed womanhood: she is feminine, demure, grateful, emotional, and graceful. Ogunbanwo comments on this by obfuscating the individuality of these women, masking their faces with veils— a style signature to his photography.

Lakin Ogunbanwo “E wa Wo mi” (Bride Veil) series

The exhibit was recently on view at the Whatiftheworld gallery in Cape Town.

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WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to present e wá wo mi (*come look at me) – a new photographic series by Nigerian artist Lakin Ogunbanwo. Central to Ogunbanwo’s latest exploration, is the culture surrounding Nigerian brides and marriage ceremonies. He uses veiled portraiture to document the complexity of his culture, and counteract the West’s monolithic narratives of Africa and women. Ogunbanwo’s interest in expanding the contemporary African visual archive began in 2012 with his acclaimed ongoing project, ‘Are We Good Enough’. In this series, he documents hats worn as cultural signifiers by various ethnic groups in Nigeria. In e wá wo mi Ogunbanwo furthers this investigation by representing the traditional ceremonial wear of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani tribes, amongst others. Rather than objectively archive these as past-traditions, however, he mimics the pageantry of weddings in present Nigeria. He creates elaborate sets of draped fabric as a backdrop for these brides to perform. The performances these brides carry out are ones of love, familial and cultural pride, feminine strength, and a heterogenous African identity, but they are also the burdens of being wives, mothers and daughters-in-law. The expectation of femininity, and the role of women, are canonised on the wedding day. “From how she dresses, to how she carries herself, to what she is told. She will be fertile, she should be submissive and supportive: These are the things she hears on that day.” Ogunbanwo reflects, “I’ve found weddings to be very performative, and most of the performance generally rests on the bride.” On this day, the bride is admired and observed for her proximity to a constructed womanhood: she is feminine, demure, grateful, emotional, and graceful. Ogunbanwo comments on this by obfuscating the individuality of these women, masking their faces with veils— a style signature to his photography.

A post shared by Lakin Ogunbanwo (@lakinogunbanwo) on

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Joshua Oyenigbehin is an introvert who is passionate about Storytelling, writing, and teaching. He sees his imagination as an unsearchable world, more magical than a fairyland. He has written a novel and working on another

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