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Nike Davies -Okundaye

Nike Davies-Okundaye

Nigeria 1951


Nike Davies-Okundaye, known as Mama Nike, is a central figure in African art and crafts. With an iconic career spanning more than five decades and with over 100 international exhibitions, she is one of Nigeria’s most well-known textiles artists and painters. She was born in 1951 in Ogidi, Kogi State, in North-Central Nigeria, and was brought up amidst the Yoruba traditional weaving and dyeing as practiced in her hometown Osogbo, which is recognized as a major center for art and culture in Nigeria. Her parents and great grandmother were musicians and craftspeople, who specialized in the areas of cloth weaving, Adire making, indigo dyeing and leather. 

Over the past twenty years, Davies-Okundaye has conducted workshops on traditional Nigerian textiles for audiences in the United States and Europe. She had her first solo exhibition at the Goethe Institute, Lagos, in 1968. Davies-Okundaye's Adire and batik textiles use visual themes taken from Yoruba history and mythology, as well as visual themes inspired by her own life experiences and dreams. She launched a revival of this aspect of Nigerian culture, building art centers offering free courses for young Nigerians to learn traditional arts and crafts. She trained more than 3,000 young Nigerians for free, and she continues to help by funding many poor to establish their small businesses and art workshops in different parts of Nigeria. Davies-Okundaye strives to improve the lives of disadvantaged women in Nigeria through art by teaching the unique techniques of indigo cloth-dyeing (Adire) to rural women at her workshop, reviving the centuries-old tradition. Her paintings are permanently displayed at the Smithsonian Museum, and her work is part of the collection of the Gallery of African Art and the British Library in London. She holds the Chieftaincy titles of the Yeye Oba of Ogidi-Ijumu and the Yeye Tasase of Oshogbo. Davies-Okundaye was included in the 2019 show " Contemporary Women Artists of Africa" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, D C. In April of the same year, she was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by Rhodes University.


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 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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