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Iké Udé, The School of Nollywood, 2014-2016
Iké Udé, The School of Nollywood, 2014-2016

Nollywood Portraits: Chicago Spotlights 2nd Largest Film Industry

Picture of Elizabeth Newhart
Updated: 22 September 2016
The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago is honoring the world’s second largest film industry. Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty opens on October 20th and showcases Nollywood’s biggest stars.

Nollywood is a play on the term and location for America’s ‘Hollywood.’ It originally referred to the explosive Nigerian film industry in the 1990s, and it has since expanded to encompass all of Africa. It’s grown to earn the title of the second-largest movie business in the world, just behind Bollywood, which is number one, and ahead of Hollywood in third.

Iké Udé, Linda Ejiofor, 2014-2016

Iké Udé, Linda Ejiofor, 2014-2016

Artist Iké Udé set out to create a project celebrating the industry with a collection of portraits. Using his photography skills, he captured 64 of Nollywood’s biggest stars while in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014.

Iké Udé, Kunle Afolayan, 2014-2016

Iké Udé, Kunle Afolayan, 2014-2016

He didn’t limit the series to actors, including directors, producers, and other prominent members of the filmmaking process as well. Udé also shot a large ‘class photo’-style image of all 64 participants that is reminiscent of Raphael’s The School of Athens. It’s titled The School of Nollywood and even mimics Athens’ larger-than-life measurements.

Iké Udé, Genevieve Nnaji, 2014-2016

Iké Udé, Genevieve Nnaji, 2014-2016

‘The radicalism of Nollywood and the portraits that I’ve used for this […] is designed to retire, if not bury, the safari perspective,’ said artist Iké Udé in a MoCP promotional video. ‘Nollywood is the way I see myself as an African and the way we Africans see ourselves.’

Iké Udé, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, 2014-2016

Iké Udé, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, 2014-2016

The exhibition at MoCP will showcase these portraits along with ‘a publication featuring a forward by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and an introduction by Chigozie Obioma.’ It will run from October 20th to December 23rd.

Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 663 5554

Iké Udé, The School of Nollywood, 2014-2016

Iké Udé, The School of Nollywood, 2014-2016