'Emissaries of an Iconic Religion'Adolphus Opara at Brundyn + Gonsalves
Brundyn+Gonsalves is proud to present a selection from Adolphus Opara’s body of work, Emissaries of an Iconic Religion. This photo-documentary series brings together portraits of traditional Yoruba priests from three different western states in Nigeria.
Emissaries of an Iconic Religion consists of 20 photographic portraits of traditional Yoruba chief priests and priestesses who are considered to be human representatives of the Yoruba Orisha. Directly translating to ‘owners of heads’, the Orisha are thought of as mediators between man and the supernatural. Opara photographs his subjects within their individual contexts, surrounded by their religious regalia. By doing so he imbues them with a sense of dignity and offers an interesting counter to the West’s, often skewed, portrayals of African religion. Emissaries of an Iconic Religion is intended to emphasise the Yoruba religion’s relevance in contemporary society.
Coming from a background in documentary photography, Opara is more inclined towards a journalistic approach and sees the artistic status of his imagery as secondary. Regardless of this stated intent, his photographs are reminiscent of Victorian portraiture and the theatricality often attributed to it.
Adolphus Opara, born 1981 in Nigeria, is a freelance documentary photographer based in Lagos. He has exhibited extensively all over the world and won numerous prizes for his photography.
27 June - 14 August