Nike Davies-Okundaye at Frieze Masters
October 12-16, 2022
kó is pleased to present Nike Davies-Okundaye at Frieze Masters London. This presentation is included in the Spotlight section, a curated section of the fair that is dedicated to pioneering women artists of the twentieth century. Our selection highlights Nike’s groundbreaking work in textiles, dyeing, weaving, beadwork, painting and embroidery, from the 1960s-1980s.
Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye is an internationally renowned batik and Adire textile artist. Born in 1951 in Ogidi, Nigeria, she is a central figure in the revival of traditional Nigerian arts with a career that has spanned more than five decades. She is best known for her exploration of Adire designs, a traditional Yoruba technique using indigo dyes on hand painted cloth. Traditional Adire designs embody cultural and historical meanings, combined into larger overall patterns that are recognized in Yoruba culture. She was particular drawn to its cultural significance as a “woman’s art,” passed down by successive generations of women. Nike is inspired by old methods of weaving and dying that are fading away.
With no formal art education, Nike is a fifth-generation artist from a family of craftsmen. She began weaving at the age of six, learning from her great-grandmother who was a weaver and Adire textile maker. She became an apprentice to Susanne Wenger, an Austrian artist living in Osogbo, a major center for art and culture in Nigeria. She became known as part of the Osogbo Art Movement of the 1960s, which arose in the newly independent Nigeria. With an interest in Yoruba spirituality, the Osogbo School focused on re-engaging traditional artistic practices alongside elements of modernism. Affectionally known as “Mama Nike,” she is a seminal figure of the Nigerian art community, with four art centres throughout the country.
Financial Times, “Artist Mama Nike: ‘I found a way to make us women powerful, by being able to earn money,” October 7, 2022.
New York Times, “At Frieze, Shining a Spotlight on Women Artists,” October 9, 2022.
Harper’s Bazaar, “Our pick of London’s best exhibitions this October, at Frieze and beyond,” October 8, 2022.