International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality. Bolaji Alonge, aka Eyes of a Lagos Boy, celebrates Nigerian women, who despite all the challenges they face on a daily basis, work, love and flourish.
His three images depict a hard-working girl from Epe; the Arugba virgin, the personification of the goddess Osun as seen during the Osogbo festival; and Nigerian icon Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, the daughter of Fela Kuti and grand-daughter of the first Nigerian feminist, Fumilayo Ransome-Kuti. IWD has been observed since the early 1900s and is still being organized since the original aim – to achieve full gender equality for women the world – has not been realised.
A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close until 2186. On IWD, women across the world come together to force the world to recognise these inequalities – while also celebrating the achievements of women who have overcome these barriers.
In Nigeria, only 7 women have been declared winners of senatorial contests across the country, out of 109 available senatorial seats. Many forms of gender discrimination persist, including child labour, female genital mutilation, violence against women and inequality at the workplace.
Text by Sandra Alonge
Photo: Bolaji Alonge
Bolaji Alonge is an artist, international photographer, actor and journalist from Lagos, Nigeria. His visual language speaks of the wonders of nature and human exchange, urban culture and searches for historical continuity in a world that is sometimes heavily fractured. He is also a globetrotter who has travelled around the world during the last decade documenting exotic culture and history. In May 2017, Bolaji organized his “Eyes of a Lagos Boy” photo exhibition at the prestigious Freedom Park in Lagos.
His second solo exhibition “Urban Culture – Historical Continuity” was held at One Draw Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos in November 2018, establishing Bolaji’s brand of photography to a new audience, receiving great reviews from artists and art lovers worldwide
In February 2019, Bolaji showcased his work at Baza Studio in New York, The event was attended by the Nigerian Consul in New York, UN officials, art curators, musicians, artists, press and art aficionados. More projects in New York are planned for 2019.