If you are a Nigerian, art lover, enthusiast or student, you would have heard of or met Chief Mrs Nike Davies Okundaye.
Born in Kogi State to a family of musicians and craftsmen and growing up in Osogbo, Osun State, a major centre of arts and culture, she was exposed to the different arts and culture of Western Nigeria, ranging from Adire making to cloth weaving and indigo dyeing.
It may not come as a shock that with her background, she delved into the art industry. However, what might come as a surprise to those who do not know of her is that she has not only one but four art centres in Nigeria; Lagos (Commercial hub), Abuja (Nigeria’s capital), Kogi State (where she hails from) and Osun State (where she grew up) where she holds the chieftaincy titles, Yeye Oba of Ogidi-Ijumu and the Yeye Tasase of Osogbo.
1. Nike Art Centre, Lagos
Chief Mrs Nike Davies Okundaye is the owner/curator of the Nike Art Galleries in Lagos. Her staff will take you on a tour of her home in the Lekki Penninsula. There, you can browse the art gallery featuring the whole panoply of Nigerian arts. You will find her adding more to your tour experience as she comes out for a meet and greet at the end of the tour. She would even let you try on some of the traditional attires. Her warm and bubbly personality is an art itself.
Address: No. 2 Oba Yekini Elegushi Rd, Lekki Phase I, Lekki.
2. Nike Art Gallery, Osun State
Mrs Okundaye, in 1982, opened a Centre for Art and Culture in Osogbo where training is offered free of charge to all Nigerians in various forms of arts. The art centre offers training in dancing, drumming, performing arts and study of sculpture. It was previously a haven for disadvantaged women and young adults. It is responsible for having trained over 3000 Nigerians who now earn decent livings.
Address: Dada Estate road, Ede (Old) Road, Osogbo.
3. Nike Art Gallery, Abuja
Nigeria’s new capital is an attractive modern city set in the middle of the country. It is too new to have developed a flavour or personality of its own. It offers none of the excitement of Lagos, but it also frees you from the traffic problems that plague the commercial capital. You may choose to arrive in Nigeria at the small and quiet international airport in Abuja. The Abuja centre is Mrs Okundaye’s newest gallery.
Address: Piwoyi Primary School, Kilometre 7.5 Abuja International Airport Road, Lugbe, Abuja.
4. Nike Art Gallery, Kogi State
Like the Lagos centre, it comprises of a three-storey art gallery. It is located in the ancient Ogidi Kingdom in Kabba, Kogi State of Nigeria. It offers a unique and breath-taking experience to lovers of art and nature.
Address: Kabba, Kogi State, Lokoja, Nigeria.
Mrs Okundaye's designs have been promoted through exhibitions and workshops in Nigeria, USA, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy and the United Kingdom.
In 2013, two of her major artworks, “Liberal Women Protest March’’ (Parts 1 & 2), were collected by the world's largest museum; the Smithsonian National Museum Of African Art in Washington DC, USA, for permanent display.