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Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria, 2005
Pieter Hugo
Artwork 2005
Pieter Hugo’s photograph ‘Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria, 2005’ depicts an individual holding a hyena on a leash.
Artwork: Pieter Hugo, Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria, 2005 (2005). Archival pigment ink on Photo Rag. 51 x 51 cm. Private collection.
Artist Pieter Hugo Title Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria, 2005 Date 2005 Materials Archival pigment ink on Photo Rag Dimensions 51 x 51 cm Edition Edition of 8 Credit Private collection

Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara appears in Hugo's The Hyena and Other Men, a photographic essay that documents the Gadawan Kura, an itinerant family of traditional healers and entertainers. “The motifs that linger are the fraught relationships we have with ourselves, with animals and with nature,” Hugo said of the series, “the hybridisation of the urban and the wild, and the paradoxical relationship that the handlers have with their animals – sometimes doting and affectionate, sometimes brutal and cruel…”

“My eye is drawn,” the photographer Pieter Hugo writes, “to the peripheral, particularly in Africa, and I negotiate contexts where the cultural nuances of our time are amplified.” Negotiating representations of marginalised people – in Africa and elsewhere – Hugo is attuned to the voyeurism of photography and its claims to realism. “I am of a generation that approaches photography,” he says, “with a keen awareness of the problems inherent in pointing a camera at anything.” In all his photographs, his subjects participate in making their image. Hugo works with a large-format camera, which requires a setting up of the image, a conversation with his subject, necessitates time spent. As such, his photographs are never covert, never spontaneous, but made with the deliberate care the medium demands. Hugo’s photographic essays have included such various subjects as Liberian boy scouts, people with albinism, Nollywood actors, and Mexican muxe.