“I want everybody to help each other. The sky is our limit, so be your brother’s keeper. Whatever knowledge you have, package yourself well and make use of it”
The fourth of our six part feature on TEDxIkoyi Talks is titled ‘Legacy in the Arts’. Delivered with a mix of frankness and humor by world renowned artist, Nike Okundaye, her narrative takes us on a journey to Oshogbo, Nigeria where she began her craft over 40 years ago. Having lost her mother at a tender age, she tells the story of how she ventured into the art of fabric dyeing and batik making as a means of sustenance.
Today Mama Nike as she is fondly called, focuses her time and resources on helping other women achieve financial independence while preserving ancient African art techniques for future generations. Crafts taught at her Nike Art Centres include batik making and sculpting, as well as non-traditional arts like painting and quilting and dance.
Nike Okundaye is an award winning artist/designer and owner of West Africa’s largest gallery located in Lagos. She uses a variety of media to express themes from her life and Yoruba culture. Trained as a weaver, dyer and batik maker, she is best known for her modern approach to traditional themes in her colourful batik prints and paintings. Over the past twenty years, she has given workshops on traditional Yoruba textile making to audiences across the world. Finding that the traditional methods of weaving and dyeing that had been her original inspiration were fading in Nigeria, she set about launching a revival of this aspect of Nigerian culture. She is the founder and director of the Nike Centre for Arts and Culture, which offers training to young artists in the visual and performing arts as well as empowerment schemes for rural women across Nigeria.
Below is an excerpt from CNN’s African Voices feature on Nike Okundaye
Award-winning designer Nike Davies Okundaye has pioneered a global revival of Nigeria’s ancestral dark blue cloth-dyeing art. Displayed in major international exhibitions, her colorful creations share the themes from her Yoruba culture with the rest of the world. While the veteran textile designer has enjoyed success abroad, her attention is focused on her homeland, where she’s embarked on a mission to improve the lives of disadvantaged Nigerian women through art. At her workshop in southwest Nigeria, Okundaye teaches the unique techniques of indigo cloth dyeing, also known as Adire, to rural women. By doing so, she’s hoping to revive not just the centuries-old tradition, but the lives of these women as well. “When they come there, it is free for them. They can eat and they can also discover themselves as an artist,” says Okundaye, or “Mama Nike,” as she’s called by the women. Full article here