Images that Speak: Delineating Nigeria’s Modernity through the Graphic Configuration of Postage Stamps

Clement Emeka Akpang


Images possess great visual power, because they embody contents which references varying aspects of a person, community or nations existence and history. Ancient civilizations have been constructed by analysing the visual configuration of images to uncover the historic consciousness of the period they where created. Contemporary discourse on the power of images has thus, embraced and emphasised gravity of images as a unique form of communication and medium of research. Postage stamps constitute one of such images with great visual powers; because it’s designs reflect specific country designations. This paper focused on addressing one research question; how can the visual configuration of stamps be interrogated as visual reference to delineate the modernity of a nation? Adopting visual analysis as methodology of enquiry, this paper examined Nigerian postage stamps from the 1850s to this contemporary age to delineate her transmogrification from primitivism to modernity. Findings from this study led to the conclusion that, through analysis of the changes in stamp designs which very often is impelled by social, cultural, religious or political forces, the entirety of a nations development can be reconstructed, as postage stamps offer insights into paradigm shifts because they constitute a form of visual documentation of a nation’s historic transformation. Through postage stamps as adopted in this paper, Nigeria’s transmogrification into a modernity (modern state) is vividly delineated with the changes in designs found to be influenced by colonialism, nationalist activism, decolonization politics and Pan-Africanism.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n4s2p47

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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