Transcending the erotic: Nigerian artist Kadara Enyeasi talks nudes, the male body and Rotimi Fani-Kayode

In his latest series of black and white portraiture titled Memory is a Box of Repeated items, Lagos-based photographer Kadara Enyeasi captures the many nuances of physical beauty.

The artist takes an abstract and expressive approach to shooting portraiture, zoning in the on shapes and forms created when bodies interact. “With this work I was looking at human interrelationships and how bodies come together to bring new harmonic forms. Studying the sculptural works of Jean Hans Arp, I was able to decide on the intimate motions to create new human forms.

“With each portrait series, I am striving to abstract the form further, to a point where gender and organic classifications would be irrelevant to decoding the images.”

People of colour are the protagonists to his pictures and often he will prepare for a shoot by documenting himself. “I love shooting black bodies. I love the way black skin photographs and what can be done to it in post. The way it reflects the light and the sheen of life it gives to the image.”

His images show an aesthetic affinity for the male anatomy. “Male bodies are a source of inspiration. I have shot a number of nude self-portraits and so I tend to know what it is I am looking out for in a model and how best to highlight particular features,” he explains.

Kadara says he is inspired by the seminal work of late Nigerian photographer, Rotimi Fani-Kayode. His portraits express a similar representational politics explored by the artist in his iconic series Ecstatic Antibodies.

“I believe that the series is highly politicised, being that only in recent times has the male form, especially the nude, transcended the erotic to be seen as high art. My work, placed in the context of the Nigerian religious and cultural landscape, where same sex relations are highly prohibited and frowned upon, seems to disobey and confront the laws.”

See his powerful captures of the human body below.

To view more of Kadara’s work follow him on Instagram.

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