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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Iké Udé: Nollywood Portraits

Smithsonian American Art Museum / Washington, D.C. / Art

Iké Udé was born in 1964, in Lagos, Nigeria, a hub for music and the arts. His family was affluent and his childhood was filled with family portraits, biweekly affairs that involved dressing up. Those early days were the spark. Udé became increasingly invested in photography, and was also developing a fascination with identity. “By mixing varied costumes in concert with the now and then,” he has said, “we begin to realize how arbitrary, subjective, fleeting, even absurd—no less wonderful—our ‘real’ cultural construct is.” Udé is now famous for his conceptual, color-saturated portraits, and in this series he has captured Nollywood personalities. Radiant and powerful, they challenge Eurocentric art history and notions of beauty. —E.C.

Smithsonian American Art Museum F St NW &, 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20004, United States
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