Medina Dugger Pays Homage To The Beauty Of Nigerian Hair In New Photo Series
There will never come a time when Black women’s hair doesn’t captivate observers, but photographer Medina Dugger is making it a point to ensure the gaze through which one sees Black hair is one of celebration and appreciation rather than oppression with her new photo series, Chroma: An Ode to J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere.
“Black women’s hair remains a political topic around the world, one that many continue to be ignorant, insensitive, and offensive about,” Dugger told Refinery29 of her latest work. “The western-centric gaze is pervasive, oppressive and institutionalized, both overtly and subliminally. Chroma aims to celebrate the beauty of Nigerian hair design.”
J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere was a photographer who documented more than 1,000 traditional Nigerian hairstyles which re-emerged when the country regained its independence and moved away from the straight styles and wigs that had become commonplace during colonization. Okeikere’s work spanned more than 40 years, and, like him, Dugger is now further documenting the art of Nigerian hair design and how “the availability of colorful extensions and wools in local markets today has led to unique variations on threading and braiding techniques,” her website notes.
As part of the creation of the photo series, Dugger consulted with each model on the color and design of her hair to be sure they created looks they would actually wear beyond the shoot, Refinery29 noted. Dugger also worked Nigerian hairstylist Ijeoma Christopher who was able to tell her the names of each hairstyle and the history behind them. Check out just a sampling of the styles on the next few pages.