• 2020-06-16

Chi Modu’s journey to becoming a professional photographer started when he was a student at Rutgers. He further nurtured his skills at the International Center of Photography, and then he landed a position at The Source, which was the definitive magazine of hip-hop culture. At The Source Magazine, the Nigerian/American photographer developed relationships with the biggest icons of the hip-hop movement, including Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Mary J. Blige, and L-L Cool J, most of whom were not yet famous. In addition to shooting over 30 cover photos at The Source as their Director of Photography, Chi was able to capture the musicians in candid, unexpected moments, due to his disarming manner and unique perspective.

The mini-documentary Chi Modu: The Eye of the Golden Era features Modu's iconic work and new images he captured while exploring the streets of Lagos. Throughout the montage, he narrates and reflects on his dual upbringing and why he strongly believed in returning home. When he visited Nigeria, the legendary Nigerian-American photographer engaged with Nigerian youth during his Lagos exhibition 'Uncategorized'.

"Growing up in both worlds; growing up in America, and being Nigerian, it gives you a different perspective," he says. "When you're young, you want to assimilate to the culture where you're living. But as you get older, you start to appreciate the fact that you have both worlds. The concept around Uncategorized was taking the art to the people. Present your work directly to the people, let the people decide, “Chi Modu explains.

Over the years, Chi Modu had been searching for ways to make his art accessible to more people. According to the photographer, “The art world tends to be very exclusive and full of obstacles for both the artists and the public. My goal is to make art more inclusive by pulling an end-run on the galleries and the museums, breaking down the barriers, and bringing the art directly to the people. Like graffiti, but legal.”