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Thursday, 19 January 2017

EFIWE GISTS: Meet Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye, No Education But Lectures At Harvard And Other Top Universities In America


Not many in Nigeria know the unique life story of Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye; a talented woman who has no formal education but lectures at Harvard, and other top universities in America and in Europe. She is the face behind the popular 'Nike Arts Gallery', located in Lagos, Abuja and Oshogbo.

The Kogi state native never went to school to study art - it was passed down to her by her great grandmother, the late Madam Ibikunle. While watching her do magic in the art of adire textile processing and helping her out, Nike was able to walk up the line to become an expert in adire making, dyeing, weaving, painting and embroidery.

Her words; "My grandmother was the head of all the weavers in our community. So, even as a little child, I already had a dream that I would own a big studio when I grew up. People came from different areas to buy the cloth from her. So, at that time, I already sensed that I might not have the opportunity to go to school.
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“The type of education I had at the time was the education that is passed from parents to their children, not the education you get in a classroom. It was the practical type of education,” she says.

Today, Nike is a world acclaimed artist and textile designer. She brings vivid imagination as well as a wealth of history and tradition into the production of adire. Her works are celebrated in major capitals of the world, with her designs exhibited in countries like the USA, Belgium, Germany, Japan and Italy, amongst others.

About two years ago, her Adire painting was accepted at The Smithsonian - the world’s largest museum, located in Washington DC, US. Some of her works can also be found among-st the collection of prominent personalities around the world, including the US White House.

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