We chat to Medina Dugger, a Californian photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria, whose work will be shown at the
Investec Cape Town Art Fair by Art Twenty One
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SERIES ENSHROUD. When I first arrived in Lagos seven years ago, I was amazed by all the colourful patterned hijabs. From my limited experience, I previously understood them to be mostly black or neutral. But fashion in Lagos is colourful in general. I suppose the series potentially reimagines traditional perceptions for people not living in Lagos (or other countries where similar hijab styles may be prevalent), but for Lagosians this dress is quite conventional.
WHAT’S IT LIKE FOR AN AMERICAN ARTIST TO INTERPRET THE CUSTOMS OF AN ADOPTED COUNTRY? I think it depends how open and unbiased one is in learning about the customs. The length of time one spends in a new country also plays a role. For even the most impartial outsider, understanding a culture other than one’s own is still not to fully know it, which is why my work involves collaboration.
HOW DOES YOUR WORK TOUCH ON TRADITIONAL PRACTICES AND CONSTRAINTS ON WOMEN? For both my series Chroma and Enshroud I used photography as a means to express a somewhat alternate view of practices both traditional and controversial. Some of the practices and traditions I photograph are unique, but they also embody greater universal themes. I try to capture nuances that reflect our similarities and linked humanity.
WHAT’S IT LIKE LIVING IN LAGOS? It’s like knowing you’re in on a best-kept secret! One can never be bored in Lagos.
PHOTO CAPTION: Dots and Spots, Veil in Peach, Bows, Stars and Stripes and Keys and Latticework from Medina’s new series Enshroud. These digital collages feature the veil primarily in an abstract sense, observing its forms, patterns, colours and contribution to identity and self-expression. Medina is exhibiting another series, Chroma: An Ode to J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere, at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair in February. Chroma represents a contemporary interpretation of Nigerian photographer J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere’s documentation of women’s hairstyles