In this report, adire fabric design exponent, Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye gives an account of her 62 seasons of life as an artist and art promoter, even as she looks back in gratitude to God that she never failed in the duties she owes humanity.
As a way of marking a very sterling career as an artist, Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye has rolled out programmes to celebrate her 62 seasons engagement with the paint brush. These programmes as disclosed in a chat recently , are billed as part of activities that honour her glorious day of birth.
Commencing soon in Lagos, the yet to be titled show is schedule to open at Okundaye’s ultra-modern Gallery located at Oba Elegusi road, Lekki, Lagos.
The exhibition promises to collate and showcase paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and other mix-media works that would highlight some of the salient trends in Okundaye’s over three decades captivating career as an artist.
Born in Ogidi Ijumu, Kogi State, Mrs. Okundaye who is currently one of most Africa’s popular women artists, is widely exhibited and also an internationally documented artist.
Popularly known as Nike, Mrs Okundaye also, has other art centres in Osogbo, Abuja and Ogidi Ijumu.
The exhibition is not the only major event lined up for the birthday commemoration as the artist will also award prizes to art writers as well as other events aimed at honouring stakeholders in the arts and cultural sub-sectors.
“I am an ardent believer that the height that we reach in this world is not as a result of our making alone but through the help of God who helps us to achieve such thing in life.” She said.
Continuing she added that,” At 62,
I can tell you that life has taught me so many lessons. Whatever one finds in one’s life is for a moment as no condition is permanent.”
Disclosing the reason for the exhibition, Nike said she feels happy and content because of things God has made her achieve through her artistic career and hence, the event for her, is much like a professional thanksgiving and a way of giving back to the society a little from what God freely gave to her.
This reason, she further explained, is why the event will go beyond an art exhibition featuring other packages which include; a get together dinner and workshop as well as awards to individuals.
Narrating her long sojourn in the world of creative arts, the multi- talented artist, Okundaye explained that ,‘It was while I was in Osogbo as young girl that I heard about the late Susanne Wenger and her husband Ulli Beier. Adding that’ up till today, I consider them the major catalysts of Nigerian art movement. The extra moral classes that Beier was conducting in those days were what blossomed the art.”
Continuing she said, ‘’they identified those talents and began to develop them. Today, as you can see many of the artists that they discovered have gone international.
For me, Susanne was the one that I derived inspirations from , not only me,but I guess other artists as well.
let me equally say that from the very beginning my family was into craft art,and especially where I come from in Ogidi Ijumu.
My first effort were in weaving, then from weaving I moved on to Adire (indigenous textile design. It was later that I discovered batik, which I call the loss wax method and other people prefer to call it Campalla.
Although it came by accident, before you knew it, it got me my trade mark name, Mama Adire. The Adire has taken me to so many countries of the world. Apart from that, today I also do oil and acrylic paintings.