By Yuccee O. Uwah, The Korea Post Nigeria Bureau chief
The Embassy of Republic of Korea in Abuja in Nigeria organized an all-female artists exhibition on the theme of “The Beauty of Nigeria” on March 8, 2022. A glare of Nigerian female artists showcased their works. Here are profiles of arrays of Nigerian artists whose works were headlined at the well-attended event.
The artists who showcased their works at “the Beauty of Nigeria” Exhibition includes a long list of ‘Who’s Who’ in the Nigerian art space that spans over five generations of female artists in Nigeria. A brief introduction of the artists follow:
Chief Mrs. Nike Okundaye, Internationally Renowned Artist and Mentor:
Leading the pack at female artist at the Exhibition is Chief Mrs. Nike Okundaye, an internationally renowned female designer and artist with several years of practice which has taken her to various countries.
She held her first solo exhibition at the Goethe Institute, Lagos, Nigeria in 1968. Chief Okundaye has grown to become one of the major names on the international art circuit. She was brought up amidst the traditional weaving and dying practice in her native village of Ogidi, Ijumu local government council of Kogi State, North Central Nigeria. Her artistic skills were nurtured by her parents and great grandmother, who were musicians and craftspeople specialising in the area of cloth weaving, Adire making, indigo dying and leather.
Mrs. Okundaye spent the early part of her life in Oshogbo which is recognised as one of the major centres for art and culture in Nigeria. During her stay in Oshogbo, her informal training was dominated by indigo and adire. She is today a proud product of the famous Oshogbo Art School.
The dynamism of Nike’s compositions, coupled with the complexity and firm structure, emerge in her textile designs particularly for the adire and batiks. Nike brings to her adire a vivid imagination as well as a wealth of history and tradition regulating the production of adire. Adire is the traditional Yoruba hand painted cloth. Traditional adire designs are a myriad, full of meaning and history, which are combined into larger overall patterns with names that are universally recognised in the Yoruba culture. She seeks to re-establish the value of adire as art, and to increase the appreciation of this meticulously designed, hand produced textile. For many years, this veteran adire artist has created both Adire and batik works that glorify the social practices and the cosmic drama of Yoruba tradition. The prevailing indigo colour of her textiles accentuates the aura, mystery and beauty of her designs.
In 2013 Mme. Okundaye’s painting with the famous Adire symbols in the background was accepted by the world’s largest museum, The Smithsonian. She ‘represents the new breed of African female artist, many of whose realities are now international, though in essence they are perpetuating the living tradition of female artists and ‘cloth-queens’, controlling heady empires of fabric wealthy powerful women’. Nike is known all over the world for promoting her designs through exhibitions and workshops in Nigeria, USA, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy, to mention a few.
Dr. Ngozi Akande, a practising artist and administrator:
Dr. Ngozi Akande is a Nigerian artist and a leading advocate for gender rights activist and public administrator who has inspired several generations of artists in Nigeria and beyond.
She is a co-founder of Female Artists Association of Nigeria as well as former president and secretary. Currently, she is a director in Nigeria’s National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Abuja, Nigeria.
She has participated in several exhibitions nationally and international including the United Nations 75 Years Anniversary in New York in 2020. Her works are in UNESCO Collections in Paris and New York. She served as Nigeria’s representative at UNESCO Art for Peace in Andorra (2016) and also a member, UNESCO Resilient Artists, Andorra. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
Ms. Chinze Ojobo, President Female Artists Association of Nigeria:
Ms. Ojobo, is an award-winning Nigerian artist who participated in 74 art exhibitions nationally and internationally, including United Kingdom.
She is a mixed painter specializing in acrylic on canvas and jute. She trained in the United States, Nigeria and studied under the renowned Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui. She won 2018 African Achievers for Creative Arts at House of Commons, London. She has mentored young and upcoming artist in her work with British Council in Nigeria through Creative Hustle program. Currently, she is the President, Female Artists Association of Nigeria.