Nollywood Portraits: A radical beauty graces Toronto film fest

Ejiofor & Afolayan

Ejiofor & Afolayan

The School of Nollywood, a group portrait by NY-based, Nigerian-American artist, Iké Udé featuring 64 Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry) personalities, will be displayed at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival in September as the event turns its attention to Lagos, Nigeria in the 8th edition of its City to City programme.

“We are thrilled to present Iké Udé’s monumental mural The School of Nollywood before each screening in our City to City programme that spotlights the city of Lagos this year at TIFF, said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival. “The creative generation immortalized and styled by Udé have been redefining world cinema and his elegant, iconic portraits serve to further ingrain them into our collective cultural consciousness.”

At once a reference to and departure from The School of Athens, 1509, Rafael’s renowned fresco, The School of Nollywood is the centerpiece of a body of work, Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty, which includes 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 to be accompanied by a coffee table book featuring all the portraits published by Milan-based Skira. Udé also plans to release a documentary film featuring the subjects of the portraiture, Nollywood in Focus later this year.

The Toronto International Film Festival is screening 8 movies by Nigerian filmmakers this year including Izu Ojukwu’s 76, inspired by Nigeria’s civil war, Steve Gukas’s 93 days, a real life thriller about the key players in Nigeria’s battle against ebola in 2014 and Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party, a comedy set around a Nigerian wedding. The City to City program will also feature a unique and intimate discussion with two Nollywood legends, actor, film producer and singer, Genevieve Nnaji and actor, film producer and director, Kunle Afolayan, who are also featured in Ude’s Nollywood Portraits.

“It gives me great pleasure to have been part of Nollywood Portraits: A Radical Beauty, a phenomenal, momentous body of work by Iké Udé,” said Kunle Afolayan. “Documenting and preserving our craft is important for this and future generations around the world and I am glad this happened during my time.”

About the artist: Iké Udé was born in Nigeria in the 1960s and has lived in New York City, NY for over 3 decades during which time he has earned the reputation as a master portraitist. Udé gives conceptual aspects of performance and representation a new vitality, melding his own theatrical selves and multiple personae with his art. He has held numerous exhibitions and is in the permanent collections of top museums worldwide including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. He is also author of Style Files: The World’s Most Elegantly Dressed published by Harper Collins in 2008.

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