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05 February 2011 —
27 March 2011

Pieter Hugo:

Pieter Hugo, Tarry King Ibuzo. Enugu, Nigeria, 2008


They say Nigeria's Nollywood is the world's third largest film industry. It releases up to a thousand titles a year onto the local home-video market. Such productivity is only possible because the movies are made in conditions that would make western filmmakers cringe. Produced and marketed in the space of a week, they use cheap equipment, basic scripts, actors cast the day of shooting, and real locations. While drawing on genres and typologies drawn from Hollywood, Nollywood movies are a rare instance of mass-media self-representation. The stories-including tales of romance, comedy, witchcraft, bribery, and prostitution-speak to the experiences and values of their local audiences. The narratives are overdramatic, and deprived of happy endings. The aesthetic is loud, violent, excessive; nothing is said, everything is shouted.

South African photographer Pieter Hugo became intrigued by Nollywood's fictional worlds, where the everyday and the unreal intertwine. He asked a team of actors and assistants to recreate Nollywood myths and symbols as if they were on movie sets and photographed them. The resulting images recreate the stereotypical characters that typify Nollywood productions, including mummies, satanic demons, and zombies, all casually posed in the backlots of Enugu. Nollywood is on loan from the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.

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