For the first time in its history, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art will travel an exhibition to the continent of Africa! In a historic collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria, Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria, will open permanently at the National Museum of Benin on September 29th. It will showcase the work of Alonge, who created a rich visual history of the Benin kingdom over a sixty-year career.
SEE THE ONLINE EXHIBITION.
The exhibition originated at the National Museum of African Art and was on view from September 17, 2014–July 31, 2016.
Stella Osarhiere Gbinigie
Madam Stella Osarhiere Gbinigie was 16 years old in 1950 when S.O. Alonge photographed her at Ideal Studio. Over 60 years later, Gbinigie recalled that she and her three sisters dressed up in their mother’s contemporary clothing—lace blouses, skirt wrappers, and headties—and her distinctive jewelry to get their portraits taken.
She remembered how respectful and friendly Alonge was, how he made his clients feel at ease, offering choices for seating or standing and suggesting poses and hand positions. Alonge’s skills with hand-coloring photographs are evident in the beautifully toned image of a reclining young Stella on a couch.