Lakin Ogunbanwo


Working at the confluence of fashion photography and classical portraiture, young Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo creates enigmatic portraits with an erotic and subversive undertone. His subjects exist defiantly in the frame often masked by shadow, drapery and foliage. His use of vibrant flat colour and bold compositions form a more minimalist homage to the african studio photography popular in the 1960s and 70’s.

Central to Ogunbanwo’s artistic investigation, is his desire to document the culture of Lagos; expand the contemporary African visual archive; and portray self-represented African narratives. He documents the complexity of his culture using veiled portraiture and fashion as a cultural signifier, and in doing so, counteracts the West’s monolithic gaze on Africa.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1987, Ogunbanwo’s work has featured in the The New Yorker, New York Times, Vogue Italia, ID online, British GQ and Riposte Magazine, amongst others. His solo exhibitions include e wá wo mi  (2019), We Must Not Be Looking (2017) and Are We Good Enough (2015) at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, he has also shown a selection of his works at the Niki Cryan Gallery in Lagos (2019). Recently, he was awarded a three-month residency in Amsterdam by the Thami Mnyele Foundation, which will take place in 2021. He has attended the MMCA Residency programmed by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. He was also commissioned to show in the window displays of Galeries Lafayette, Paris in the Africa Now exhibition (2017). His work forms part of the public collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia and the Wedge Collection in Toronto, Canada.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2019 e wá wo mi - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2017 Africa Now, Galleries Lafayette, Paris
We Must Not Be Looking - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Johannesburg
2015 Are We Good Enough - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2014 New Work - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Muse, Didi Museum, Lagos, Nigeria
2013 Portraits by Lakin Ogunbanwo, Rooke and Van Wyk Gallery, Johannesburg

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Not Angels or Algorithms, Only Human Error - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2017 Sydney Contemporary, Carriageworks, NSW
2016 Art x Lagos, The Civic Centre, Lagos
Rituals and Performance: Inherant Risk, Lagos Photo Festival, Nigeria
Dey your Lane!, BOZAAR, Brussels
Nataal: New African Photography, Red Hook Labs, New York
2015 Broken English, Tyburn Gallery, London
2015 Joburg Art Fair - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
Afreaka Festival, Meetings Between Contemporary Brazil and Africa, Mario de Andrade Library, São Paulo
2014 Grid Photo Bienalle, Cape Town
Uncertain Terms - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Art14, London, UK
2013 The Human Condition, LagosPhoto Festival, Lagos, Nigeria
2012 Spectrum, Lagos Photo Festival, Lagos, Nigeria
The Mask, Terrakulture Gallery, Nigeria