Friday, July 15

nollywood at the dunedin public art gallery

I love the perfect aesthetics of printed photos in lovely white frames mounded neatly, in linear rows along gallery walls. I also love humour captured in art. Currently the exhibition ‘Nollywood’ at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery fufills both these loves. This photo exhibition by Pieter Hugo focuses on the world’s third biggest film industry found in Nigeria. Its title ‘Nollywood’ reflects the obvious influences and in some ways it (in its blatant name adoption) embraces the cliche with a huge, crooked smile.

Hugo has captured either singular or groups of Nigerian actors recreating some of the most legendary moments in their film history. The results are bizzare, ridiculous and at times guresomely realistic. We see Nigerian versions of Jesus and nude Darth Vader. We see the tolken Nigerian Dwarf. We also see blood, white glazed eyes, death juxtaposed with everyday Nigerian life continuing on in the background.

This photo series goes beyond the material presentations of gore of the depicted violence and the cheap horror tricks. It portrays a fascinating history of a film community where I believe many would hardly know about.

In one of the photos is a white man with a mask, this is actually the photographer himself. I think this shows the fun-ness and accessibilty of the world of Nollywood and the allure for outsiders to involve themselves. In some ways too, though, it indirectly questions the copious amounts of money and time that is put into other film systems like Hollywood. To round off the cliches, perhaps these money consumeing industries are where the horror so obviously lies..DEAR ME. Too much?

For more information and a better description, see his website!


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