J.D. 'OKHAI OJEIKERE, NIGERIA, watercolor

J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Nigeria, is a small watercolor in my art notebook, to remind myself of the wonderful work of this artist.

Born and raised in a small village in Nigeria, he had his first camera when he was 20. He became obsessed and soon found work as a photographer, quickly becoming a well known photographer in Nigeria. In the 1960s he began documenting various aspects of Nigerian culture. For over 40 years he has captured elaborate hair styles and head wrappings of Nigerian women. The catalog of the Biennale di Venezia 2013 says about Ojeikere: "In more than 1000 photographs the sculpted and braided hair, whose elaborate designs can take days and weeks to complete, he registered hair styles of some of Nigeria's hundreds of ethnic groups. They indicate changing fashion, skill of the hair stylists, and the changes that attended the transformation of Nigeria as it grew into a new era of autonomy and self-determination." The photographs at the Biennale were life size, and a joy and a marvel to look at. He's 83 years old this year.