Jenevieve Aken

Great Expectations

The series is eponymous to and is inspired by Dickens iconic novel. I am inspired by the eccentric character of Miss Havishma and I am drawn to the effects of being jilted at the alter have on her character and how this affects wider society. It is always intriguing to me how events shapes characters and vice versa. I also imagine a situation where Miss Havishma marries and lives a sad miserable and largely unfulfilled life.

Society today, especially in Africa, places huge emphasis on marriage as institution and this leads to pressure and stresses on a lot of women some of whom are successful but yet feel unfulfilled until married. Happiness, love, friendship are all after thoughts. marriage first.

Dickens’s novel was a great inspiration and because it is narrated in the first person I felt the need to immerse myself and reinterpret this story in contemporary African- Nigerian society, through self-portraiture. Great expectations is a novel of visual imagery and i decided to model myself alongside the character of Miss Havishma.

About the Artist

Artist Website

Jenevieve Aken is a Nigerian photographer/ story-teller who focuses on social documentary photography, images and representation, and often adopts self-portraiture in her artistic practice. She explores personal experiences and contemporary social issues of identity, sexuality, gender and social roles. She has participated in the past three editions of LagosPhoto Festival (2012-2014-2016) and in the photography exchange program at the Neue Schule fur Fotographie in Berlin (2013). She has exhibited her works at the Ford Foundation in Nigeria (2014), Joburg Art Fair in South Africa (2014), Prisma Human Right Photo Contest in
Venice (2015), Grid Cape Town Biennale in South Africa (2015), Rush
Art gallery in New York (2016), Photovillenyc Festival in New York (2018), Daegu Photography Biennale in South Korea (2018).
She has undertaken an artist residency Program at the Villa Lena foundation in Tuscany, Italy (in 2017) and a residency Program at National Museum of Modern And Contemporary Art Seoul, South Korea (2018).
Miss Aken lives and work in Lagos, Nigeria.