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.
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.
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.
‘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.’
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.