THE MASKED WOMAN.
The Masked Woman is a self-portrait series that explores representation of gender in Nigeria society through a performative lens. It attempts to avert the overarching male gaze by facing it head on with the artist’s own actions and choices. The images portray the solitary lifestyle of the “super femme fatale” character, choosing to achieve pleasure and contentment through self-fulfillment that not dictated by the subservient role as a house wife or defined through a man’s affection. While depicting a confident and sexually free woman, the subject’s mask and body language also suggest a nuanced tone of isolation which speaks to her stigmatization in a society that has limiting and strictly defined roles of what the proper woman should be. By diverting the status-quo and exercising freedom of choice, such women are perceived as extreme, eccentric, and outside of polite society in Nigeria. The series personifies a growing number of independent, professional women in Nigeria who at once assert their autonomy while also being ostracized by cultural norms. Rather than waiting for the narrative to be told from the outside, I choose to give birth to my own freedom, in hope that it will inspires other women in Nigeria to express their independence and free-will.