Name: Chief (Mrs.) Oyenike Monica Okundaye
Date of Birth:
May 23rd 1951
Place of Birth:
Ogidi-Ijumu, Kogi State, Nigeria
Married with children
Traditional chieftainship titles of “Yeye Oba” of Ogidi-Ijumu land, the
“Yeye Tasase” of Osogbo land and “Yeye Gbasaga” of Ijumu Kingdom
A professional Textile Artist and a Painter.
Membership of professional bodies
Society of Nigerian Artists, ASA of USA
and Canada, ACASA, Society of Nigerian Women Artists, Member of Osun
Support Grove, Board member of the National Heritage Council of
Nigeria, Member of the Board of Trustee of Osun State Centre For Black
Culture and International understanding, etc.
Social Entrepreneur and a Philanthropist.
Nike is the Managing Director/CEO of
Nike Center for Art and Culture, Osogbo where trainings are offered
free of charge to all Nigerians in various forms of arts. The center
was established in 1983, by Nike solely from her earnings as an artist
and without governmental assistance. Nike opened this center with 20
young girls who were marching the streets in Osogbo aimlessly and who
had no hopes for the future. In their tender age, Nike withdrew these
girls from the streets and provided them with free food, free materials
and free accommodation at her residence at Osogbo and taught them how
to use their hands to earn decent livings through the art. So far, over
3000 young Nigerians have been trained in the center and who are now
earning their decent livings through art. Many African countries now
send their students to study textile art at the center.
The Nike Center for Art and Culture,
Osogbo now admits undergraduate students from many universities in
Nigeria for their industrial training programs in textile design. Over
the years, this center also now admits students from all over Europe,
Canada and the United States of America. International scholars and
other researchers in traditional African art and culture also visit the
center from time to time for their research works into Yoruba "Adire"
fabric processing and African traditional dyeing methods.
Nike is also the Owner/Curator of the
Nike Art Galleries at Lagos, Osogbo, Ogidi-Ijumu and Abuja. In 1996,
Nike established a textile (Aso-Oke) weaving center at Ogidi-Ijumu near
Kabba in Kogi State for the women of the village, employing and
empowering more than 200 women in the weaving center. In June 2002,
Nike established an Art and Culture research center at Piwoyi village,
FCT Abuja with an art gallery and a textile museum, the first of its
kind in Nigeria which will provide functional platform for research
into Nigerian traditional textile industry in the Federal Capital
Territory area of Abuja. In furtherance of these noble endeavors, Nike
is currently the managing director and founder of the following
organizations in Nigeria; "Nike Art Productions Limited" which she
incorporated in 1994, "Nike Art Gallery Limited" which she incorporated
in 2007 and the "Nike Research Centre for Art and Culture Limited"
which she incorporated in 2007. Also in 2007, Nike founded the "Nike
Art and Culture Foundation" with some notable eminent Nigerians as
trustees, with the main aims and objectives of fostering Nigerian
Some Awards and Merits
May 2006, Nike was awarded one of the highest Italian national awards
of merit by the government of the Republic of Italy in appreciation of
her efforts in using art to address and solve the problems of Nigerian
prostitutes (sex workers) in Italy. See more on this in paragraph 20
2005, the National Commission for Museum and Monument of Nigeria
awarded Nike a certificate of excellence in recognition of her efforts
in the development of Nigerian cultural heritage.
2005, the Department of Fine Art, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile – Ife
awarded Nike a certificate of merit in recognition of her efforts in
the promotion of art education in Nigeria.
2004, Nike was awarded an honorary certificate of merit by the Nigerian
Union of Journalists, Osun State Chapter in recognition of her
contribution to the advancement of Nigerian cultural heritage.
2003, a certificate of merit was awarded to Nike by the Okun Yoruba
people of Kogi State of Nigeria in recognition of her efforts in youth
development in Nigeria.
2002, Nike was bestowed with an award of distinction by the National
Association of Kogi State Students in recognition of her efforts in
promoting Art awareness among the youths in Nigeria.
2002, Nike was awarded and admitted as a fellow of the institute of The
Pan – African Circle of Artists of Nigeria in recognition of her
commitment to the promotion of art education in Nigeria.
2009, The “CEPAN Foundation” of Nigeria awarded Nike a plaque of honor
for being the African Art Icon of the year.
2010, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of Nigeria
presented Nike with a golden plaque of honor in recognition of her
noble role in the fight towards drugs free Nigeria society.
2010, the Osun State Council for Art & Culture presented Nike with
a golden plaque of excellence for being one of the leading "Patron of
Art & Culture" in the State.
2011, the "Northern States Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and
Agriculture" presented Nike with a crystal plaque of honor for her
leadership and entrepreneurship roles in Nigerian commerce and industry.
2011, the Art Galleries Association of Nigeria (AGAN) in collaboration
with the Nigerian National Gallery of Art (NGA) presented Nike with a
plaque and a certificate of honor for art dealer of the year.
2011, the SISI-OGE Foundation of Nigeria awarded Nike a crystal plaque
for her outstanding dedication in the promotion of Nigerian cultural
- In 2012, The
Business and Professional Women of Nigeria Association honoured Nike
for her Outstanding and Leadership quality in area of her
entrepreneurial spirit and her role as a change agent in promoting art
and culture globally and for the empowerment of rural community
women and young people.
November 2012, Nike was presented a plaque of honour ward by the Female
Artists Association of Nigeria (FAAN) for her support and contribution
to the growth and development of Female Artists in Nigeria.
December 2012, Nike was presented a plaque of honour ward by the
National Council for Art & Culture (NCAC) in Abuja in recognition
of her efforts in the promotion of Nigerian Creative Industry and
Empowerment through Visual Art.
May 2013, Nike was presented with a golden trophy by the National
Museum, Onikan, Lagos in appreciation of her contributions to the
development of the National Museum in Lagos.
June 2013, Nike was presented with a golden plaque, titled "Life
Achievement Award" by the Ogidi Development Union in Kogi State in
recognition of her efforts in the development of Ogidi village in
Kogi State of Nigeria, her birth place.
March 2014, Nike was invited by the First Lady of Kogi State under the
auspices of "Kogi State Women Association of Nigeria" and she was
awarded "Women Inspirational Award - 2014" in recognition of her
efforts in motivating and economically empowering the rural women of
Artistic Education and global actions
Nike was principally educated in art by
her great grandmother whom Nike lived with after the death of her
mother and grandmother. Her great grandmother was a weaver and an
"Adire" textile maker/dyer during her lifetime. It is therefore,
interesting to observe that Nike had no serious formal western
education because of lack of fund. Her parents were quite poor and they
could not fund her education. The truth is that, Nike lost her mother
at the age of 6 and her grandmother at the age of 7. Her father, late
Nicolas Ojo Allah who was a village traditional drummer and baskets
weaver in his days could not help her much to acquire higher western
Nike stopped schooling at primary 6 school level at her village at
Ogidi-Ijumu in Kogi State of Nigeria. However, Nike went ahead to teach
herself English at home. She never went to school to study art which
had brought her to global spotlight. Vocational training in art was
passed down to her by her great grandmother, late madam Ibikunle who
was an "Adire" textile maker and a dyer of fabric during her days in
the village of Ogidi-Ijumu, Nike's birth place. Watching her great
grandmother in the art of "Adire" textile processing and helping her
out in "Adire" making, Nike walked up the line to become an expert in
"Adire" textile making, dyeing, weaving, painting and embroidery. This
was the way vocational training was passed down from parents to
children in Yoruba communities in those days in Nigeria.
Nike steadily built upon what her great grandmother taught her and
went ahead to develop her own style and technique in textile design and
painting, and how to effectively present them for exhibitions. Nike is
a multi talented person who was able to use her natural given ability
to assist and help many less privileged. In that quest, she has been
able to give hopes to the hopeless in our society. In the same vein,
Nike has been able to economically and socially empower many rural
women by setting up cottage weaving workshops/centers for women at
Abuja, Osogbo and Ogidi-Ijumu thereby giving voices to them in their
various communities. Nike's challenges were many especially when
her activities are centered at men dominated societies. The men saw her
initiatives and activities to be too out in giving the so called
liberties to women who were hitherto oppressed in the rural areas.
In her humble quest to further promote, enhance, sustain and
provide enabling environment for the growth of African cultural
heritage in Nigeria, Nike single handedly went ahead in 2009 and built
a five floor ultra modern cultural art centre at Lekki Peninsula, Lagos
with the main purpose of positively transforming the landscape of the
hitherto neglected art and culture in Nigeria. This building was opened
to public in September 2009. This building also holds Nike's second
textile museum. It also houses the 4th Nike Art Gallery in Nigeria with
a large stock of Nigerian and African art of deferent media. In her
keynote speech during the opening ceremony, Nike did tell the world, "I
dedicate this building to the glory of God and to the Nigerian cultural
heritage". Since the opening of this building, the "Nike Cultural Art
Centre" has become a cultural hub and a popular tourists' destination
in Lagos Nigeria.
From a very modest beginning without serious formal western
education, Nike's actions and initiatives have positively impacted the
lives of so many who came her ways. Other than giving the benefits of
her exposure to the less privileged, Nike's works have meant and become
close to a large array of dedicated fan across the globe where she has
become an ambassador of good will for art and culture for her beloved
country since 1974 when she first took her art works across the shores
of this country to the Americas for exhibition. Her interactions cult
across divide; politicians and non politicians, diplomats, scholars,
business men and women, researchers, children, tourists, etc come on
daily bases visiting Nike and her centers in Nigeria.
In addition to the following major international shows, Nike has
had over 102 solo art exhibitions and 36 group art exhibitions in her
artistic life. Nike's art works can be found in many private homes
collections and public institutions collections including schools,
colleges, universities, palaces and museums all over the world. Two of
Nike's major art works "Liberal Women Protest March (Parts 1 & 2)"
were collected by the Smithsonian National Museum Of African Art in
Washington DC, USA for permanent display in 2012. Some of the major
international shows she participated in are;
In 1974, Nike was one of the ten African artists who toured and taught
arts in various crafts institutions in the USA. These tours were
sponsored by USIS, Lagos. These trips took Nike to the fifty (50)
states of America including the ice region of Alaska and the Virgin
Islands of America conducting workshops and delivering lectures in
schools and community centers.
2. In 1981, Nike’s work won the first prize during the SOUTH
WEST ARTS FESTIVAL in Washington DC. USA. And she was awarded
many prizes of honor at the end of the festival.
3. In 1983, The Nigeria Arts Council, Lagos sponsored Nike to represent
Nigeria at a workshop held at the Museum of Natural History, New York,
USA. During which period, her works attracted many arts collectors.
4. In 1985, Nike was one of the six women artists who exhibited at the
African Heritage Kenya during the World Women Conference held in
Nairobi. The UN sponsored her trip to that conference.
5. In 1986, Nike was the only Nigeria woman who represented Nigeria in
an exhibition featuring African women artists held at the African
Centre, London. That exhibition was sponsored by AKINA MAMA
WA AFRICA, London. In
6. 1989, Nike and Sokari Douglas Camp were the only Nigerian women
artists who represented Nigeria in an exhibition held at the women
museum in Washington DC. USA.
7. In 1991, USIA sponsored Nike’s educational visits to many
institutions of higher learning and museums in USA. This trip again
took Nike to; Washington DC to deliver lectures and conduct workshops
at the Howard University, the University of Maryland and the Rhode
Island School of Textile.
8. In 1991, Nike and Sokari Douglas Camp co-featured as the only
Nigerian women artists in a film “KINDRED SPIRITS”
produced by Smith Sonia on Nigerian artists which was a television
documentary in USA and Canada.
9. In 1991, during a conference of Black Artists held in Toronto Canada
to celebrate African identity, Nike was sponsored by the CUSO of Canada
to that conference as the only Nigerian artist who exhibited her art
works and held workshops at that conference.
10. In 1992, Nike was the only African who represented the continent
of Africa in an exhibition organized by BMW Company, Munich Germany
during their anniversary celebration. Nike was accompanied by her
cultural troupe to the show.
11. In 1994, during the celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the
UN, Nike was one of the 50 world artists selected to exhibit their
works in a film; a documentary in-put for the anniversary that was
exhibited in South African.
12. In November 1994, Nike exhibited her art works at the Royal York
Hotel, Toronto Canada during the 37th annual conference of the African
Studies Association of USA and Canada.
13. In 1995, Nike was one of the ten (10) African artists who had
exhibition at the African Heritage in Nairobi, Kenya.
14. In 1996, Nike held an exhibition at the University Of Tampa
Florida, USA. The exhibition was followed by series of lectures and
workshops she conducted at the department of fine art of the
15. In 1997, Nike held an exhibition at the prestigious ‘Schobgarten
Galleria’ in SCHOBGARTEN, Germany.
16. In 1998, Nike held an exhibition at the University of Wisconsin,
USA. This exhibition was followed by series of lectures she delivered
at the department of African studies of the University.
17. Also in 1998, Nike went with her cultural troupe to Antwerp,
Belgium to perform at the Wereld Cultural Center in Antwerp.
18. In 1999, Nike held an exhibition at Northern Michigan University,
USA. The exhibition was followed by series of lectures and workshops
she conducted at the department of humanity of the University.
19. In 2000, Nike was invited by the Federal Government of Nigeria to
supply all the textile materials, which she designed for the Nigerian
pavilion at the Expo 2000 in Hanover, German. Her art works were also
on display during that Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany.
20. In June 2000, Nike was invited to Italy by the CISV of Italy and
Caritas of Italy to organize art exhibitions and art workshops in Turin
to address the problem of female prostitution in that country. She
mounted these art exhibitions and art workshops, which was largely
21. In October 2000, Nike was invited with her cultural troupe by the
Nigerian Ambassador to Netherlands to perform at the Hurge in
celebration of the Nigerian 40th independence anniversary.
22. In 2001, Nike went with her cultural group to Antwerp, Belgium to
perform at the Wereld Cultural Center in Antwerp.
23. In 2001, Nike held an exhibition at the Pan African Film Festival
(PAFF) in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. USA.
24. In 2002, Nike was again invited to Hollywood for an art exhibition
during Pan African Film and Art Festival (PAFF).
25. IN 2002, Nike was in Denison University, Granville Ohio. USA for an
art workshop and lecture.
26. In 2002, Nike was in Bowling Green State University, Toledo Ohio,
USA to hold art workshops and lectures.
27. In June 2002 Nike was invited as a special guest artist in resident
during the commonwealth festival of art in Manchester, UK.
28. In July 2002, Nike had exhibitions of her works in Ausgburg,
Germany during the La Piassa art festival.
29. In August 2002, Nike was in Calgary, Canada for exhibitions during
the “Afrikadey” annual festival.
30. In November 2002, Nike was at the Dartmouth University, Hanover,
New Hampshire, USA as artist in resident, holding exhibitions, art
workshops and lectures at the department of humanity of the University.
31. In December 2002, Nike attends the annual meeting of the African
Studies Association of USA and Canada which holds in Washington DC. As
a long time member of this association, her art works were also on view
during the conference.
32. In February 2003, Nike was a special guest artist in resident at
the Pan African Film and Art Festival in Los Angeles USA where she
awarded certificate of honor by the County of Los Angeles, California,
33. In September 2003, Nike was invited by Belgium government with her
cultural troupe to perform amongst other cultural troupes from other 40
African countries at Antwerp cultural centre.
34. In February 2004, Nike was artist in resident at the University of
California, Berkeley, USA.
35. In July 2004, Nike artist in resident at the International Folk Art
Festival at Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The festival was sponsored by
the Museum of New Mexico Art Foundation.
36. In October 2004, Nike was appointed a member of the UNESCO
Committee of the Nigerian Intangible Cultural Heritage
37. In May 2005, Nike was a guest artist in resident at the African Art
Festival in Wurzburg, Germany.
38. In June 2005, Nike was in Graz, Austria with her cultural troupe to
perform and show case Nigerian art at Maria Moser Centre.
39. In May 2006, Nike was appointed a board member of the Federal
Capital Territory of Nigeria Tourism Board at Abuja, Nigeria.
40. In January 2007, the government of United States of America
selected Nike and sponsored her trip to Cape Town, South Africa to
participate as a facilitator/panelist at the world conference of "Vital
Voices Pan-African Leadership Summit & Initiative for Women and
Girls". At that conference, Nike presented a paper "Art, Activism and
Women Empowerment" in Nigeria which caught the hearts of her audience
at the conference. This paper was posted at her web site for six months
from January to July 2007.
41. In March 2007, Nike was invited by the University of South Florida,
Tampa to conduct workshops and lectures at the department of women
studies and art history, on batik and traditional African textile
42. In April 2007, Nike was invited by Harvard University, Cambridge to
conduct workshops and lectures on batik and technique of adire textile
processing and African dyeing techniques.
43. In 2008, Nike was invited by University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada
to conduct workshops and lectures on African batik and the technique of
Adire textile processing and African dyeing methods.
44. In August 2009, Nike was once again invited by the promoters of
“Afrikadey” annual festival of Calgary, Canada to exhibit her works and
conduct workshops on Adire processing during the six days festival.
read a biography of Nike authored by Ms. Kim Marie Vaz, “THE WOMAN WITH
THE ARTISTIC BRUSH” widely recommended for university students studying
African arts and cultures in the USA.
Many academic papers and research papers have been published on Nike’s
works by various world scholars. Just to mention only a few,
ADIRE AND THE BATIK ART OF NIKE OKUNDAYE” Ijele: Art Journal ISSN 1525
TEXTURES multidimensionality in Nigerian art” edited by Nkiru Nzegwu
NEW AFRICA dispatches from a changing continent” (pp331-339) by Robert
& Betty Press and published in 1999 by the University Press of
Florida, USA. ISBN 0-8130-1704-1;
HISTORY OF ART IN AFRICA” (pp166-167, 269-272) by M. B. Visona, R.
Poynor, H. M. Cole and published in 2000 by Colemann & King
Limited of London, ISBN 0-I-8I09-3448-5;
INDIGO” produced by Nike & Reuben Okundaye and edited by Ritka
Carr. Published in 2001 by Simon Printers, Lagos, ISBN 978-052-405-3
AND FORM….southern Africa and Nigeria” (pp17) by John Picton and
published in 1997 by the School of Oriental and African Studies,
University of London, Russell Square, London. ISBN 0 7286 0286
information can also be obtained from Nike’s web site: www.nikeart.com
to drive home her expertise in art and African culture.