Lakin Ogunbanwo in Conversation

‘I began shooting traditional men’s headwear as a way to preserve my culture and to observe how it has trickled down to my generation in the way we mix them up with contemporary fashion.’

Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo speaks with NGV Senior Curator of Photography Susan van Wyk about his series of portraits of a young man wearing a variety of traditional Nigerian hats, currently on display in NGV Triennial, and reflects on how his work in portraiture and fashion photography is a celebration of being Nigerian, counteracting the West’s monolithic view of Africa.

Presented as part of Melbourne Fashion Festival.


Lakin Ogunbanwo was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1987. He works in portraiture and fashion photography and has had his work published in magazines including ID, British GQ, and Riposte Magazine. Ogunbanwo studied law at Babcock University, Nigeria and Buckingham University, England, before taking up photography in 2012. He began exhibiting his portraits in 2013 and in 2015 he was recognised by the British Journal of Photography as one of the top 25 emerging photographers globally. Since then his work has been included in the 2016 Lagos Photo Festival and Africa Now.

Susan Van Wyk has been the Senior Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) since 2012. Since joining the Gallery in 1989, she has curated numerous exhibitions of Australian and international photography. Recent exhibitions include: Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou, Turning Points: Contemporary Photography from China, Alex Prager, Follow the Flag: Australian artists and war 1914-1945, Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion, and Thomas Demand. Susan is the author of numerous articles, catalogues and books on photography including: Olympia: Photographs by Polixeni Papapetrou, Henry Talbot: 1960s fashion photographer, No Standing Only Dancing: Photographs by Rennie Ellis, The Paris End: Photography Fashion and Glamour, and co-author of Second Sight: Australian Photography in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.

The NGV’s success is built on the dedicated support of our philanthropic community. Through the NGV’s Annual Giving program, we invite supporters to make a gift towards areas of the Gallery you feel most passionate about. Donations of all sizes are welcome.

Learn more about Annual Giving