Back talent with professional training, Nike Okundaye advises artists

L-R Ade Bakare, Founder, Ade Bakare Couture, UK; Nike Okundaye, Curator General, Nike Art Gallery; Olutayo Irantiola, and Iyabode Aboaba, Chief Operations Officer (COO), Freedom Park during Yoruba Lakotun held at Freedom Park over the weekend.
L-R Ade Bakare, Founder, Ade Bakare Couture, UK; Nike Okundaye, Curator General, Nike Art Gallery; Olutayo Irantiola, and Iyabode Aboaba, Chief Operations Officer (COO), Freedom Park during Yoruba Lakotun held at Freedom Park over the weekend.

Award-winning cultural curator, Nike Okundaye, has stressed the need for young Nigerian artists to back their talent with professional training.

Mrs Okundaye said this at ‘Yoruba Lakotun’, a quarterly cultural renaissance show which held at Ethnic Heritage Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos over the weekend.

The renowned textile artist, who once featured as a lead actress in a Yoruba film titled, ‘Ayaba’, said a formal training in the arts will give any artist an added advantage.

“In the last 50 years I have been practicing various creative skills such as painting, making of adire fabrics, stringing of beads and gele tying. I have taught several people these skills across the globe. This was only possible because I sought further formal training myself. At the moment, younger and educated people who have a firm grasp of these skills are now making electronic designs, which are very profitable.

“There are a lot of opportunities for people who have an in-depth understanding of cultural crafts and skills across the globe because the world is currently researching deeply into Africa. We need to start excavating our relegated artworks which are currently in high demand in other continents,” she added.

Highlighting the benefits of professional training, the artist, who is popularly called ‘mama Adire’, said it has earned her global recognition within various art spheres.

“I was raised amidst the traditional weaving and dying practice in my native village of Ogidi and, over time, I have garnered additional skills in my area of expertise. The latter is non-negotiable for any artist who desires to remain relevant in their field.

“This is one of the reasons why I am relentless in giving back to society by training hundreds of thousands of people who are also contributing meaningfully to the world today. My artistic skills were nurtured by my parents and great grandmother. They were musicians and craftspeople who specialised in cloth weaving, adire making, indigo dying and leather works.”

Other highlights at the event, which was dedicated to the governor-elect of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, included the Bata Drum Ensemble led by Muyiwa Adefila, Oloyede Odofin and Olalere Ayantayo.

Damilola Adebonojo, popularly called Iya Yoruba, gave a brief talk on tonal marks while Moromoke Adunbarin spoke about pre-colonial Nigerian heroines like Efunroye Tinubu and Efunsetan Aniwura.

Popular author, Gbemisoye Ayano, was also on hand to speak on descriptive symbols.

In his closing remarks, the organiser, Olutayo Irantiola, said the event was organised to celebrate the bravery of African women who have distinguished themselves and gained global prominence in their respective fields.

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