June 1-July 2, 2017
“A lot of times Black people are not necessarily portrayed in the best light in the media. I wanted to create pictures that had a sense of pride and elegance to them.”
Ima Mfon began Nigerian Identity by posting a call on Facebook for fellow Nigerian expatriates living in the United States to be photographed. Although the individuals who responded brought with them many different life experiences, Mfon deliberately minimized the environmental context of each image and used high-contrast lighting to alter skin tones and redirect focus to each person’s unique features in order to challenge viewers’ preconceptions about identity, class, and race. For the artist, who came to the United States to pursue his undergraduate studies, this series is a personal one. He notes that in this country, “regardless of my unique heritage, I am reduced to being just Black.”
Ima Mfon is an editorial and fine-art photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria. He also spends a great deal of time in New York City, where he recently earned his MFA in Photography at the School of Visual Arts. Mfon was a recipient of the 2015 Lensculture Emerging Talents Award and he has exhibited at the Klompching Gallery and Rick Wester Fine Art in New York City, San Francisco Camerawork Gallery, and the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography. Mfon also periodically collaborates with Bloomberg, covering stories that showcase less reported aspects of Nigerian culture.