Nigerian Photographer, perfectly recreates ‘The Godfather’ with one decisive difference- The presence of a dapper, era-appropriate Nigerian man offering the Don flowers, partaking in wedding processions and huddling close to scheming crime bosses- It’s the face of Uche Okpa-Iroha himself!
Uche Okpa-Iroha re-contextualises Francis Ford Coppola’s film, The Godfather in his series “The Plantation Boy”, where he painstakingly inserts himself as a “humorous intrusion”, into 40 film stills, carefully mimicking the costumes, body language and facial expressions of the characters he replaces with stunning accuracy. With this project, Okpa-Iroha brings to light the lack of representation of certain races or cultures, in this case African, and though the message behind the project is serious, the result is also clever and witty.
“…It is an iconic movie and a masterpiece. I wanted to pay tribute to a well-made movie at its 40th anniversary in 2012. But having said that, the movie is also hinged on the family, which is a form of identity and representation. I felt a certain culture and race was not well represented and this brings to forefront the western media dynamics of race and its complexities. In order to question this, I decided to intrude into this space using simulation as a form of representation by proxy”. Okpa- Iroha explained in his interview with Art Base Africa,when asked why he chose to use the movie The Godfather in his project The Plantation Boy.
Okpa-Iroha displays images of his transformation on “The Plantation Boy” website, presenting the intense studio work that went into to reenacting the sharp collars, ascots and plaid suits. He estimates that only 30% of the project was conducted in post-production, the rest can be attributed to his reverent poses and smiles that ape the original scenes to a tee. The artist has plans to continue his project, hoping to do a similar series with the other two “Godfather” films and “Amistad.” Also check out the video clip on “The Plantation Boy by Uche Okpa-Iroha” to view all 40 stills.