Lakin Ogunbanwo’s photographs are stunning studies in ceremonial fashion
Search “bride” on Instagram and over 52 million images crop up. The vast majority of these are women in pale creamy chiffons, champagne lace and enormous taffeta ball gowns glistening white. Lakin Ogunbanwo’s bridal portraits of Nigerian brides couldn’t be more different. They are all vibrant, dazzling colour—royal purple and sugar pinks; tangerine; turquoise; festive crimson and gold; a veil of luminous lime green. Called e wá wo mi (which translates as “come look at me” in English), the series is a stunning study in detail and sumptuous ceremonial fashion, all the while bringing questions of performance, ritual and the construction of female identity to the fore.
Currently on display at Niki Cryan Gallery, e wá wo mi is a branch of Ogunbanwo’s ongoing project, Are We Good Enough, which showcases the types of traditional hats worn by different ethnic groups in Nigeria—this is the first time the two series have been exhibited together. Working at the intersection of fashion and portrait photography, Ogunbanwo’s arresting—and frequently enigmatic images—reveal the part that fashion and clothes play in identity construction. In e wá wo mi, the women hail from the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani tribes respectively, and the images honour the variety of styles and mode of dress common to each of these tribes, ultimately celebrating the diversity of brides in Nigeria. Of course, at the same time, the portraits emphasise the strange extravagance of marriage ceremonies, not just in Nigeria, but universally. – Read the full article – Sleek Magazine