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Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Art of Adire

Since moving to Lagos, one thing I have to say that I have really found a new appreciation for is the many beautiful fabrics you will find here.  I have seen thousands of them on my trips to Balogun Market, and along the streets of Lagos as people walk by in their brightly colored outfits.  I have to admit, when I lived in the U.S., I never really gave a second thought as to how a particular fabric was made or the art behind it.  But, today, some ladies I know were able to experience a little treasure here in Lagos.  They were able to go to the Nike Art Gallery and Center for Art and Culture.  I was able to hear Nike Davies Okundaye speak a few years ago at an afternoon tea.  To say she is an interesting and amazing woman is not nearly enough.  She is absolutely incredible with an incredible life story to go right along with her.  She was born in Ogidi, Kogi state in north Central Nigeria into a Yoruba community.  She learned the art of adire ( traditional Nigerian tie and dye) from her great grandmother ( who also was a cloth weaver and indigo dyer).  Her father was a basket weaver and leather worker.  Her parents died when she was very young, and she was eventually married to a Yoruba chief and was the youngest of 16 wives!!!!!  After he passed away, she started selling her tie and dye work and eventually went on to open up several galleries(even in New York, New York!!). Not only is she an amazing artist, but she teaches free classes to poor, underprivileged Nigerian women to empower them to help themselves in a society in which women have been oppressed for centuries.

I was completely bummed out that I couldn't go to the gallery today to see the tie and dye process Nike teaches, but one of my friends took a scarf of mine and was able to tie- dye it there for me!!!!!:) ( Thanks, Karin!)

For more information on Nike and her life and how she developed her amazing career and service, click here and here.  Maybe one day, I'll get to go and see her again, but for now, I have a little piece of her art...

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