I’m currently in Lagos, Nigeria for my summer vacation. I’m no stranger here though, you see, I lived in Lagos up until I moved to England to continue my education and so ‘The Nike Art Gallery’ was a name I had heard one too many times but never got a chance to visit. As a lover of arts, I decided it was high time I payed this gem a visit and what a visit it was!
I arrived at the Nike Art Gallery (which was a breeze to locate by the way) and was ushered in by brass works, a beautifully decorated iron dining set and weird looking artefacts. I knew I was going to love this place! I mean take a good look at this lol
FIRST FLOOR – I was completely taken aback when I stepped into the gallery, it was filled with grand size master- pieces; you name it .. bead work, fabric work, paper work, every single material you can think of was used to make art. Unknown to me this was only the beginning as the gallery had three floors!
I was still ohhing and ahhing when the power supply went off.. pshh no big deal I proceeded to use my phone flash. Travel Tip: There is no 24-hour constant electricity supply in Nigeria, get over it and adjust appropriately.
I proceeded to make my way upstairs with my flash light . Left to me, the power outage added to the experience because it give it a sort of haunted house vibe (I’m weird like that lol ) . This didn’t last long though as the electricity came back on in a few minutes. I expected bright white lights to come on but nothing prepared me for what I actually saw ..
The white studio lights came on showcasing what seemed to me an art paradise. Words fail me as I try to describe the beauty and accuracy of these art pieces. Created with bright colours and passion, these art pieces, each diverse in their individual looks were certainly a sight to behold! On that second floor was everything you could never think of; 3D paintings, ankara boxes with little red human beings in them, sand sculptures of mermaids on a painting!… left to me, the paintings of the city of Lagos was the actual cherry on the cake, never have I seen those bright yellow danfo* buses and brown roof tops captured with such precision.
When I got to the third floor I thought to myself ‘this is not something you can tell people about’ .. you just need to come see it for yourself . The stairway leading upstairs were decorated with iron agama lizards. How creative! Look at them. There were also objects made from recycled milk tins which I felt were super cool. The third floor is relatively small in comparison to the other floors so it won’t take long to scan through.
Ooh! Did I tell you I met Nike herself! Nike Davies-Okundaye is the brain behind Nike Art Gallery. You should read up her story ; she’s a pioneer in her field and is totally amazing at what she does. A very down to earth woman soon she was singing my name in praises and dancing; she readily agreed to take a picture with me; beaming throughout. The highlight of my trip was art lessons from Nike herself, it couldn’t have gotten any better I tell you.
A1 for creativity and effort Nike Art Gallery! Nike sure is a woman who is a master at her crafts. It is almost impossible to believe entry is free seeing how visually impressive the gallery is. I wish the paintings had descriptions alongside but I guess that is what differentiates a gallery from a museum. It will be a short visit anyway so hold some naira* as you proceed to unwind at the Nike Gallery Cafe. Or go out and explore Lekki, one of Lagos’ most talked about high brow areas.
Visit the gallery’s website at http://www.nikeartcenters.com/mainindex.php
*danfo – although the origin of the term is not certain, some claim this means hurry in Yoruba. This term is used to describe the popular Yellow Volkswagen buses synonymous with the city of Lagos used for public transportation. Due to the city’s hustle and bustle, entering public transportation is always done in a hurry. Time waits for no man in Lagos.
*naira – the currency used in Nigeria.