An informative hour in the presence of acclaimed Nigerian Artist Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye. A much loved, celebrated and accomplished female artist and galleriest. Chief Nike provided an inspirational talk at the GAFRA gallery in London, on how her personal life and upbringing in Ogidi Kongi state of Nigeria influences her creative process. The women of Kongi State are renowned for their art and craft trades.
She started her artistic endeavours with Adire, a traditional tie and dye technique. Her great grandmother taught her this technique after her mother and grandmother passed away at the age of six. Over the years she also incorporated the work of wax, which she discovered accidentally.
She believes Adire is a form of communication of traditional proverbs and decided to incorporate it into her paintings. Her use of pen and ink was inspired by the desire to continue with her creativity whilst travelling. She is also inspired by the Yoruba Oshun Tradition.
Her work showcases women and celebrates womanhood. She was met with resistance when setting up a centre to support and encourage women initially in Nigeria. This led to two of her centres being closed down. The authorities required men to be included in her training programme, which she did and today she continues to encourage and promote artists globally via her 4 art centres in Nigeria.
I have been fortunate to visit her Art Centre in Nigeria which I covered in a blogpost on my Creative Adventure in Abuja Nigeria. Read to explore the varied forms of art from different artists Nike has supported over the years. For more exhibitions on Contemporary African Art in London, visit the GAFRA Gallery