Renowned photographer to discuss work in fashion, art worlds

Publication Date

Nigerian-born photographer and performance artist Iké Udé will speak in the Nott Memorial April 26, 5 p.m., in connection with the Mandeville Gallery exhibit, “African Photography, For Whose Eyes?: Constructing and Deconstructing Identities.”


A resident of New York City, Udé is known for his ties to the celebrity, art and fashion worlds. He is one of the 15 contemporary African photographers whose works are included in the current exhibit.

From his writings on sexuality and identity to his provocative Cover Girl series featuring photographic self-portraits on the covers of popular magazines, Udé’s work explores a world of dualities: African/post-nationalist, photographer/performance artist, artist/spectator, male/female, mainstream/marginal, seduction/narcissism and fashion/art.

“Because of his immersion in various glamour industries, Udé gives the political aspects of performance and representation a new vitality,” said Mandeville Gallery Interim Director Marie Costello. “Like Andy Warhol, he plays with the ambiguities of the marketplace and art world.”

After studying in Nigeria and the U.S., Udé started his career as a painter in the late 1980s. In the early 1990s, he turned to photography to explore issues of identity. He is the publisher of aRUDE, an edgy art, culture and fashion magazine, and also has worked in video, film and television.

Udé’s work is in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of Art and in many private collections. It also has been included in solo and group exhibitions and reviewed in Art in America, Flash Art and the New York Times. His newspaper and magazine articles on fashion and art have been published worldwide. Vanity Fair named him to its 2009 International Best Dressed List.

“African Photography, For Whose Eyes?” runs through May 13. Other artists in the show represent Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and South Africa. Also included are 80 missionary postcards from Yale Divinity Library and scans of 1950s covers from the influential South African magazine, Drum.