Exciting story of famous batik designer Nike Davies who has become art icon

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Art is regarded as a beautiful form of expression by most people. Individuals do not need to have a formal education to appreciate beauty. Such is the case of African art icon, Nike Davies Okundaye.

Nike is the owner of the popular Nike Arts Gallery located in Osogbo, Abuja and Lagos. Not many know that she started as a little village girl with no formal education to becoming an art icon celebrated all over the world.

The 67-year-old creative was born in Ogidi, a small village in Ijumu local government, Kogi state. She was introduced to art by her grandmother after her mother died when she was just six years old. Her grandmother was the head of cloth weavers at the time and she learned a lot from her.

In an interview with HowAfrica, Nike revealed that despite the fact that she started weaving clothes at the tender age of six, she already had an idea of how she wanted her future to be.

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She said: “My grandmother was the head of all the weavers in our community. So, even as a little child, I already had a dream that I would own a big studio when I grew up. People came from different areas to buy the cloth from her. So, at that time, I already sensed that I might not have the opportunity to go to school.”

Nike is now known all over the world for being a painter, textile and batik designer despite not studying at any school. More inspiring is the fact that she has taught at top universities in the world including Harvard University due to her artistic skills.

In 1983, Nike opened her first art gallery known as the Nike Centre for Art and Culture at Osogbo, Osun state. The centre trained young girls for free. According to the artist, the centre now accepts international students from all over the world.

She is married to Reuben Okundaye, a retired commissioner of police.

Nigerians are awed by the story of Austrian born woman, Susan Wenger, now popularly known as Adunni Olorisa, who came to the country and made it her home.

It all started when Susan and her first husband, Ulli Beier, came to Nigeria. Beier was a German researcher and a linguist while Susan was an artist. Nike Davies-Okundaye was one of the adopted children of Susan Wenger.

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