One of the things I love to do is explore. I don’t necessarily have to travel, it could be visiting places around me that I’ve not been to. Recently, my friend and I had a discussion on how we can make 2020 a better year than the previous one. We concluded on going out more, making new memories, living, and enjoying each moment we share.
A few days later, we decided to visit Nike Art Gallery. Why you get to see so many tourists in Lagos is because there are a lot of places people can explore. We had heard so much about the place, how different arts were arranged around each floor, and what some of them represent. Most importantly, we were thrilled that the entry was free. Hearing these, we became excited to explore the gallery and share the experiences others have. I was also eager to take photos of the arts.
Something you should know about me is that I am always late for almost any event. I had previously told my friend to be ready as early as possible so we could have enough time to go through all the arts but we didn’t get to leave home until 3 pm (don’t worry, I’m covering my face in shame).
We were welcomed by 2 of the staff who gave us a brief explanation of what the art gallery is about. There are 4 Nike Art Galleries in Nigeria, located in Abuja, Lagos, Osun, and Kogi State. The Nike Art Gallery in Lagos is one of Nigeria’s hidden treasures located in the Lekki axis of Lagos. The four-story building compromises of art gallery and textile museum featuring over 7,000 pieces and will soon have a Coffee shop.
The Centre has a diverse collection of art by a multitude of artists, celebrating Nigeria’s talent, and offering visitors an insight into all cultures of Nigeria through the medium of art. It can take up to a full day to discover all that the art gallery has to offer. Fortunately, the gallery is open 7 days a week often holding art exhibitions, workshops and cultural days.
We went to all the floors and back. The arts were amazing. To think a lot of people have that much talent is incredible. We were told it was against the rules to take personal photos of the arts because they were for sale. The staff were super nice. The coolest thing is you get to see different arts when going through all the floors over again.
Oh, and the lighting! You can be sure to take the best possible pictures there. Each floor has mirrors against some of the walls, and the lights are bright enough to take pictures at any angle.
Going back and forth admiring the arts, I was prompted to know a little more about the owner, Nike Davis-Okundaye and what her success story is. How she got to where she is, and what more she wants to achieve. I asked because, for a fact, during her era women were more dependent on their spouses. Only a few women would at that time decide to go out on their own and follow their dreams.
I thought to myself that something might have occurred for her to decide to follow her path. I read that she had an extremely tough early life. After she broke free of an unhappy first marriage, she was determined to inspire other women to expand their horizons.
“The resurgence of interest in local cloth in Nigeria is helping women to become more financially independent. If I hadn’t done all this work, I would never have got my independence” she said. “Most of the women who are not dependent on the whim of their husbands to provide have struggled and worked hard”.
During my leisure, I went through some random sites where she had been interviewed, and found this;
“Looking back today, art has been good to me. Though at first there was no money in it, it was the interest that kept me going. There were times I couldn’t eat for two days simply because I had used the money meant for food to buy dye. Today, I am happy that I have made a name throughout the world. Americans think I have ‘A wonderful hand’ – they call me ‘the woman with magical hands’. My dream is to spread African arts throughout the world; and to let the unborn generations know that our culture is very rich”.
Visiting places like this, you get to appreciate artists and the efforts they put into creating five-star arts. The art gallery is not only to appreciate them but to remind us of our amazing culture. I am convinced that people with the most talents are Africans. The problem is we don’t acknowledge these talents as much as we ought, and try to improve what is ours.
Exploring Nike Art Gallery opened my mind to new things. I am looking forward to more days like this in the new year. I also suggest that you take time out to visit this place if you’ve not. It might speak to you better than it did me.