Reformed spellings for Igbo Settlements
Abakaliki is Abakaleke; Afikpo is Ehugbo; Asaba is Ahaba; Awgu is Ogu; Awka is Oka; Bonny is Ubani; Enugu is Enugwu; Ibusa is Igbuzor; Igrita is Igwuruta; Oguta is Ugwuta; Onitsha is Onicha; Owerri is Owerre; Oyigbo is Obigbo; Port Harcourt is Diobu; Ogwashi-Uku is Ogwa Nshi Ukwu... any more will be added.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Agukwu Smiles

This is a woman and child from Agukwu Nri taken in 1910-11. The colonial appointed anthropologist Northcote Thomas made several volumes on the colonial examination of Igbo society. Among anthropological work, the 'side' material were outtakes like this which didn't make it to publishing.

These are three separate photos, MAA Cambridge. This is the photo that was published in Northcote Thomas' Anthropological Report on the Ibo-speaking Peoples of Nigeria, vol. I.

The woman's name and the child's name may have been recorded by Thomas, but it has not been made public yet. For more information see: [Re:]Entanglements: N. W. Thomas – an accidental artist? and [Re:]Entanglements: Who was N. W. Thomas?

You can see how the 'no-smiling' convention of old photography plays here, it may also have further connotations considering this is a colonial work made primarily for colonial dissection. There are many other example like this. In addition to that, many of the candid-looking photos taken outside of the makeshift studios were planned and staged ahead of Northcote Thomas (and hence other colonial-era photographers) taking photographs.

How does the contrast between these 'outtakes' and the published image come across, what is the reaction to seeing both and possibly realising how manipulated colonial images can be?

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