Exhibition: Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria


  • National Museum of African Art 950 Independence Avenue Southwest Washington, DC, 20560 United States

“Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria” showcases the work of noted Nigerian photographer Chief S.O. Alonge, the first indigenous photographer of the Royal Court of Benin, in conjunction with royal arts from the Benin kingdom.
The collection of historic photographs was captured on Kodak glass-plate negatives and documents more than 50 years of the ritual, pageantry and regalia of the obas (kings), their wives and retainers. Alonge’s photographs reveal a unique insider’s view of the Benin royal family and court ceremonies, including historic visits by Queen Elizabeth (1956), foreign dignitaries, traditional rulers, political leaders and celebrities. The collection preserves an important historical record of Benin arts and culture during the periods of British colonial rule and the transition to Nigerian independence during the 1950s and 1960s.
The exhibition is on view through Jan. 10, 2016.