Okundaye, Nike (1951--) By Scott, Victoria
Chief (Mrs.) Oyenike Monica Okundaye, better known as Nike, is a painter and textile artist who has had a profound impact on the preservation and promotion of the indigo-dyeing and batik arts of Nigeria. She was initially recognized in the 1970s for her work in batik. In recent years, her interest has turned to painting. She formed a unique partnership with Nigerian artist, Tola Wewe in which they both work on the same canvas. The overall composition of the joint work tends to follow Wewe’s style while the detail and layering of textile-inspired patterns is contributed by Nike drawing on her deep knowledge of the Yoruba adire textile tradition. Together they create a unique contemporary expression of a deep Nigerian aesthetic sensibility. Nike plays a prominent role in Nigeria’s vital contemporary art scene as an artist, entrepreneur and educator. She is well known and respected at home and abroad. She serves as an adviser to national and state governments on cultural matters and she travels widely to lecture and represent Nigerian art on the international stage. As well as galleries in Oshogbo and Abuja, Nike owns and directs one of the largest galleries in West Africa, the Nike Gallery in Lagos where she shows works by fellow Nigerian artists. Nike herself designed the buildings that house her businesses.