Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Power of a Woman

  Source: The Prisma

African art in “The power of a woman”

January 24, 2016
An exhibition of paintings at the Gallery of African Art will be in London until Februeary 6th.

The cultural images on show have been painted by the Nigerian artist Nike Davie-Okundale. She is the director of four art centres and owns the biggest gallery in West Africa. Besides that, for the last 20 years her work has been shown in Nigeria, the USA, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK.

ARTE AFRICANO 2As a young person she went to study at Oshogbo, one of the most important art centres in Nigeria. There she learned to paint in Adire, a kind of canvas stained with Indigo, and made by Yoruba women in the south-west of the country. In fact, Nike Davie-Okundale is recognised as the rescuer of Adire in contemporary times, and has received international awards for her importance in the art of painting on this type of canvas. In the show “The power of a woman”, the artist combines new and traditional techniques in the use of Adire, and through ancestral symbols tries to represent messages which range from creating balance to offering advice and cautions. The most striking works in the exhibition include those in the series “Feminine power“, which include monochromatic drawings using pen and ink and others in blue acrylic paint. And one of these creations is currently on loan to the British Library for its exhibition: “West Africa, word, symbol, song”.

Other images show her identity as a chief, mother, wife, daughter, teacher and social entrpreneur. These photographs are by Joanna Lipper, who made a portrait of the Nigerian artist for the first time six years ago in Oshogbo.

By means of these snapshots, the award-winning photographer and film-maker wanted to represent feminine power, psychological integrity and spiritual faith, as well as progressive thinking aimed at ensuring the rights of Nigerian women.

The exhibition is being held at the Gallery of African Art, a space created in 2013 and now recognised as the most important place for showing works by contemporary artists from the continent.

Place and times: From December 10th 2015 to February 6th 2016. Gallery of African Art, 45 Albemarle St., London W1S 4JL. Contact: ; 44(0) 207 287 7400. More information at

(Translated by Graham Douglas)

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