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Nike Okundaye

(b. 1951) Nike Davies-Okundaye, one of Nigeria’s most well-known batik and Adire artists, was born in 1951 in Ogidi, Nigeria. Raised by poverty-stricken traditional artisans, Davies Okundaye has no formal education, unlike many artists of her calibre. She mastered and made a living from indigo dying and Adire production, which the women of her family have been practising for generations. In a five-decade-long journey as a Batik and Adire artist, she accrued vast knowledge in her career, dedicating herself to educating generations of artists across Nigeria. She founded four art centres, including Nike Art galleries, which offered free training to young artists in visual, musical, and performing arts. Her gallery, with over 7,000 artworks, is the largest in West Africa, serving as a treasure trove of knowledge for scholars and institutions. She had shown her art in over 100 international exhibitions, lectured at Ivy League Universities, sat on the Nigerian Tourism Board and won numerous awards, including the Ordine Della Stella Della Solidarieta Italiano - one of the highest national honours in Italy. In 2019, Davies-Okundaye was part of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art exhibit. Her works, especially with Adire, are a beacon of courage and hope for African artists and women. She holds the chieftaincy titles of the Yeye Oba of Ogidi-Ijumu, the Yeye Tasase of Osogbo, and the Yeye Gbasaga of Ijumu Kingdom. The artist lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.