Iké Udé’s the School of Nollywood set for unveiling at Arles Photo Festival
The School of Nollywood, a grand group portrait of 64 Nollywood personalities by critically acclaimed America-based Nigeria artist and style maven, Iké Udé, will be unveiled at the prestigious Les Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles Photo Festival) tomorrow.
Inspired by Rafael’s famous fresco, The School of Athens (1509), the picture is the same size as its inspiration, an imposing 5 metres by 7.7 metres.
The School of Nollywood is the centrepiece of a body of work, Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty, including individual portraits of each of the subjects featured.
An international touring exhibition of select individual pictures and The School of Nollywood will commence on October 20, 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
Additionally, Milan-based Skira will publish a coffee table book featuring all the portraits later in the year.
Iké Udé, who shot the portrait, was born in Nigeria in the 1960s, and has lived in New York City, for over three decades during which time he has earned the reputation as a master portraitist.
His work exhibits are in permanent collections in top museums and galleries worldwide including, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution and the Stux Gallery. He is also author of Style Files: The World’s Most Elegantly Dressed published by Harper Collins in 2008.
In 2014 after over two decades away, Iké returned to Lagos, Nigeria and took photos of 64 Nollywood personalities, capturing an impressive cross section of the industry including the legendary, screen icon Genevieve Nnaji, established actor/director Stephanie Okereke and maverick filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan as well as the next generation of rising stars.
Starting in the early 1990s, Nollywood has quickly gained worldwide relevance as the world’s second most prolific film industry (over 1,000 titles released each year) ahead of Hollywood and behind Bollywood with revenues topping $500 million annually.
It is characterized by independent, cheap and quick filmmaking, meeting the demands of a continent for authentic stories that reflect the reality on the ground. An entrepreneurial rags-to-riches story, its producers are private individuals getting little or no assistance from government who make and distribute movies across the continent despite infrastructure deficiencies and barriers to trade.
The exhibition will run till September 25, 2016.