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Chromatin (by Medina Dugger & Francois Beaurain)

Chromatin (by Medina Dugger & Francois Beaurain)

Chromatin By Francois Beaurain and Medina Dugger is the animated variation of Medina’s Chroma photo project which celebrates women’s hair styles in Nigeria. Chroma finds its inspiration in hair colour trends in Lagos and by the late Nigerian photographer J.D. Okhai Ojeikere. Chromatin features geometrical and fractal constructions made from Nigerian hair designs which are geometrical and fractal constructs in-and-of themselves. Chromatin offers a ‘mise en abyme' and a deeper insight into the geometry behind African hairstyles, highlighting the importance of this practice specific to Africa and the diaspora. Fractals are at the heart of African design and art. Prior to the arrival of Europeans to the African continent, African societies developed recursive patterns (with smaller parts mirroring larger parts), which informed the layout of African villages, hairdos and patterns in African art. These fractals can be found from ancient Egypt to Sub-Saharan Africa at large, but were completely ignored by the West, which only conceptualized fractals by the end of the XXth century. The fact that the Europeans were unable to understand the subtleties of fractals, underscores a limiting, ethnocentric perspective which undoubtedly contributed to their assessment of African art and societies as primitive, when, on this specific point of art and mathematics, the Western world was (at least) many centuries behind. Braiding is one of the rare contemporary cultural practice where fractals can still be found in Africa. African hair designs are among the last remaining remnants of an ancient African cultural pillar that has been almost completely annihilated by centuries of colonization and cultural domination. With Chromatin, Francois and Medina are not only highlighting the geometrical patterns in African hairdos, they’re also reenvisioning fractals in contemporary African art.

Recent Exhibitions

Inverted Safari, Manege, St Petersburg Russia, ft. Enshroud

Pensiericorrenti Festival, Puglia, in Valle d’Itria, ft. Enshroud

University of Houston, College of Arch & Design, ft. Chroma & Chromatin

Guernsey Photography Festival, 2021, ft. Enshroud

Face to Face is a free, public exhibition of social documentary and portrait photography, curated by Ekow Eshun, in partnership with the Fund for Global Human Rights. The exhibition will take place from 7th October to 1st November 2020 at Kings Cross Tunnel, London and Central Saint Martins.

Art Twenty One, Lagos presents Chroma: An Ode to J.D. Okhai Ojeikere at the Cape Town Art Fair in a solo showing. 

Catherine Edelman Gallery presents Chroma: An Ode to J.D. Okhai Ojeikere at Untitled Art Fair in a group exhibition.

Exhibition of Hairstyles and Chroma: An Ode to J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, in Daoulas, France, March 29, 2018- Dec 2018.

Chroma at IAF Basel, Switzerland -- a multi-disciplinary festival of contemporary art dedicated to the African continent and its diaspora.

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