06 January 2020

The Nigerian Designers Beautifying their Place of Worship

06 January 2020 - Written by PhMuseum

Selected as one of the AAF x PHmuseum Prize winners, Ọlájídé Ayẹni's project Workers Behind the Design Yard focuses on the creativity of the people tasked with decorating church altars at the University of Lagos.

Workers Behind the Design Yard is a project about altar decorations in Nigerian churches. The project seeks to reveal the different design patterns that grace church altars by looking at the processes of their design, production, and the people involved. In this series of images, the story is set in the Redeemed Christian Fellowship, University of Lagos (RCF Unilag), and shows students - some of whom have volunteered and some of whom have been selected as workers - with the responsibility of preparing the church altar for Sunday services. Referred to as the Decoration Unit, decor workers call one another by prefix-names; by adding "Wise-" to their first names. A biblical reference to the wisdom of designers. The decor designs rely heavily on the use of colour to sometimes reflect the mood or theme of worship for every Sunday, where, red typically represents the blood of Jesus, or its healing power, and green referencing harvest.

Words and Pictures by Ọlájídé Ayẹni.


Ọlájídé Ayẹni is a photographer with a background in architecture whose body of work often lies within the realms of documentary and architectural photography. With an interest in cultural psychology and linguistics, his work seeks to highlight the several unnoticed elements of the Nigerian built environment. Find him on PHmuseum.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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