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

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Anthropology and Museum Studies

Publication Date



“Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria” explores several overlapping historical relationships: between colonialism, postcolonialism, and photography; between the medium of photography and classic Benin Kingdom metal plaques and hip ornaments; and between photography as a mode of documenting and constituting interior domestic life and photography as a technology of royal ritual action. The exhibition emerges out of a collection of 3,000 images, including many glass plates and silver gelatin prints by Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge, the first official photographer to the royal court of Benin, now housed at the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives at the National Museum of African Art. The photographs are juxtaposed with works drawn from the Museum's significant collection of classic Benin art.


This article was originally published in African Arts. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


African Arts


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