Lost Wax Playing Cards
By Olutade Abidoye
Each set of Lost Wax Playing Cards contains 54 playing cards featuring illustrations of royal figures from the 15th – 19th century Benin Empire. The Benin Empire thrived in what is now southern Nigeria and left an impressive record of their civilization in the form of bronze plaques commissioned by the King (Oba) to adorn the courtyards of his palace. The playing cards pay homage to this prosperous period in Nigerian history and, in effect, bring this bygone era from the archives into modernity in a colorful and playful way.
"I expect Lost Wax Playing Cards to bring a new dynamism to Nigerian popular culture and consciousness. My aim is to rekindle this colorful, yet elusive history into Nigerian popular culture through these playing cards. Nigerians are influenced by their indigenous traditions but more increasingly by popular culture. Symbols of tradition—such as those that inspire these cards—are easily overshadowed by meanings, images and activities drawn from popular culture. Since popular culture is grounded in the mundane and the persistent routines of everyday life, then this history too becomes implicit and fixed. The old Africa that inspired these artifacts has now lost much of its luster. If Nigeria’s prosperous past becomes common sense through these cards, then perhaps the notion of a brighter future won’t be so far-fetched." - Olutade
CULTURE & TRADITION:
Tribal blankets have been marked with cultural significance and history by various African cultures and nations. Basotho tribal blankets distinguish this nation from others because of their importance and mutli-purpose functions. These blanket designs have been developed over many years in conjunction with the Basotho royal family. Basotho tribal blankets are made of wool, which offers protection from rain and fire and provides it wearers with warmth in the high altitudes of the Mountain Kingdom. The blanket has become part of not only their everyday life but as a status symbol. To outsiders it became a mark of ethnicity and therefore a token of cultural identification. In fact Lesotho is the only nation south of the Sahara that illustrates the culture of an entire nation through such an individualistic item such as the tribal blanket.
With gratitude to God, we announce the passing away of our father, and an icon of photography, Pa J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere. He died in the afternoon of 2nd February after a brief illness. He was 83 years old. Burial announcements will be announced later.
Ehiz’ Ojeikere, for the family.
Known for his stunning documentation of hairstyles and sculptures, J.D. Okhai Ojeikere was a Nigerian photographer who began his career in 1954 as a darkroom assistant at the Ministry of Information, Ibadan. He was born in 1930 and bought his first camera in 1950, a Brownie D.
A year after Nigeria gained independence, he began working at Television House Ibadan as a studio photographer under Steve Rhodes. He joined the Nigerian Arts Council in 1967, and 1968 saw the start of his documentation of Nigerian hairstyles, a project that would become his trademark. However, his first solo exhibition wasn’t till 1995, when his work showed in Nigeria and was also shown outside the country for the first time, as part of an exhibition in Switzerland.
“You know, nature gives every human being a role to play in life. It happened to be that by nature, I am created to be a photographer. And being a photographer does not mean that I have to cover all aspects of photography. I am not a war photographer, I am a civil photographer. And I have an urge to document culture, not wars and civil strife.”
Oya is the Yoruba warrior-goddess of fire, wind, magic, fertility, and other chaotic, electrifying phenomena. She’s also the goddess of the Niger river, and she wears a lot of red!
She is not a goddess in quite the same sense as a Greco-Roman deity, but is an “orisha,” an elemental spirit.