Inyang Essien, I AM HOME, 2018, Digital Photo. Roland print on Paper Rag 12 x 18 inches, Edition 1, Editions 2, 3, 4 are available unframed. Also Available by order 36 x 48 inches, email us about this size.
IDET is a series of pieces celebrating various facets of Nigerian culture. Idet translates to “hair” in Ibibio — a dialect spoken primarily in the Southeastern region of Nigeria. The portraits in this series were inspired by the timeless portraiture of J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, which featured threaded hairstyles sported by Nigerian women between 1970’s-1990’s. Capitalizing on the flexibility and strength of Black hair, hair thread is used to manipulate the hair into unique styles. “I chose to complement this threaded Nigerian hairstyle with a vibrant backdrop of Ankara — a wax-style textile popular among African cultures. These hairstyles and textiles vary in meaning — some are specific to a particular region or the status that a woman holds. The mini-series within this series, “I Am Home” is a more in-depth perspective on my identity and features the blue hairstyles.”
Inyang Essien is born in the United States to Nigerian immigrants. Her upbringing was heavily influenced by culture and customs that are foreign to the United States. The red, white, and blue colors serve as cultural symbolism for her Nationality. The colors coupled with the cultural hairstyle and textile represent her experience as a first-generation Nigerian-American.