I have always heard about the Nike Art Gallery owned by Chief Nike Okundaiye and decided to do a story around the gallery. The gallery is located at Lekki and walking into the place, you can spot sculptures of different types. I walked into the gallery and discovered a treasure trove of arts and paintings and I was fascinated and excited at the same time by what I saw. Each piece of art told a particular story.
I had the opportunity to sit with the energetic and passionate owner of the gallery, Chief Nike Okundaiye who said her first art gallery was in her bedroom in 1968. She explained that the art is inborn. She mentioned how she had the opportunity to travel to america in 1974 and was told to build something to benefit people. Already, she had a gallery called African shop. Chief Nike Okundaiye was told that the idea of the gallery was good and was further advised to build it and allow each artist have their voice represented as their voice was their work.
She also said that she does one painting in one year and that some of the paintings can take 2 to 3 months to be completed.
I was wowed to find out that the gallery is not just the largest art gallery in West Africa but also the building itself, a 5 storey building housing over 7,000 African art works and paintings done by various Nigerian artists. Each floor represents different Nigerian arts such as paintings, wooden sculptures and many others.
Chief Nike Okundaiye is also into Adire which is popularly known as Tie and Dye. She has four centers in Osogbo,kogi, Abuja. All the centres provide accommodation,feeding and studios for women to learn different trades of arts including weaving, painting, adire and lots more.
About the challenges faced in running a gallery: Chief Nike Okundaiye explained that electricity is major challenge issue and the absence of government support. She reiterated the need for soft loans to help build more galleries across Nigeria.
Chief Nike said arts need encourage by way of creating more awareness. She revealed those abroad know the value of the arts and would spend good money to purchase a good work of art. She also mentioned collectors of arts actually study pieces of arts before they collect them.
I also asked about the future of the arts to which she responded that a lot of home grown designers are using indigenous textile and printing adire on silk and putting them on the runways both locally and internationally.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself in what I called a day around arts.
I also spoke with Chief Nike Okundaiye’s husband who is also passionate about the arts. He mentioned that the government needs to do more in creating and encouraging the love for the arts
For every art lover, Nike Art gallery is a place to visit. I enjoyed the atmosphere, talking and been educated by Mrs Nike and discovering that even such a place exists in Nigeria,.
Pay a visit to the Nike Art gallery and then let me know what your experience.
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