In society today, especially in Nigeria, a huge emphasis is placed on marriage as an institution. This leads to pressures on a lot of women, some of whom are already highly successful in their own rights – yet are still considered failures because of their relationship status.
Nigerian photographer and visual artist, Jenevieve Aken, uses self-portraiture to explore deeply personal experiences and contemporary social issues. Her work typically features commentary on the tension faced by contemporary African women – issues of identity, sexuality, gender and social roles – and her latest project, Great Expectations, is no exception.
Great Expectations was inspired by Charles Dickens' brilliant 155-year-old novel of the same name. Jenevieve was inspired by the story of the novel's eccentric Miss Havisham and the effects being left at the altar had on the character – and how this affects the wider society.
Jenevieve used self-portraiture to immerse herself and reinterpret this story in the contemporary Nigerian society. Great Expectations is a novel full of visual imagery and she decided to model herself alongside the character of Miss Havisham. She also imagines a situation where Miss Havisham marries and lives a sad miserable and largely unfulfilled life.