Chief Nike Davies Okundaye is a remarkable figure in the world of African art and culture. Her dedication to preserving traditional art practices and empowering women in the craft industry has left a significant impact on both Nigeria and the global art community.
She is a Nigerian artist , gallerist and designer of batik and adire textiles . Brought up in an environment where traditional weaving and dyeing practices were common place was a driving force in seeking to keep these traditions alive. She established the Nike Centre for Art and Culture in osogbo.
Because the traditional craft practices were fading out in the country, she begun offering free training to young artists in visual , musical , and performing arts which became her mission to keep art and craft alive and help nurture a new generation of creatives in Nigeria.
Nike Davies opened Nike Centre for Art and Culture which is one of Africa’s largest galleries with more than 8000 artworks exhibited over four levels . She opened the Aso-oke weaving centre in Ogidi-Ljumu which employs more than 200 women.
Centre for Arts and Culture, Image credit( Atlas Obsura)
Adire is a craft which she has revived through her art workshops and galleries. She passed on her skills to over 3000 Nigerians and empowered them to make a living out creating Adire and Ase -Oke textiles.
In 2002, she opened the Art and Culture Research Centre in Abuja. All three places are dedicated to the research, development and business of African art and culture.
She was featured on CNN International’s “Arican Voices” which highlights Africa’s most engaging personalities, exploring their lives and passions.
Nike’s painting was permanently featured at The Smithsonian Museum as of 2012, and her work was also part of the collection of The Gallery of African Art and The British Library, in London.
Adire Fabric by Nike, Image Credit ( The Guardian Nigeria)
Mama Nike draws her spiritual and artistic inspiration from Nigeria’s river goddess Osun who, she says, guides her work through dreams. She is extremely passionate about what she does. She has focused her attention solely on her homeland, even though she is successful internationally, working to bring awareness to her culture, empower women, and improve lives around her.
Her vision is to have a place where everyone can see the creativity of our own country. A place to see the way we do our tie and dye , the way we eat and the way we live . That is the work she really want people to see.