Situated in the heart of Lekki, at the third roundabout just off the noisy Lekki-Epe express way sits this mighty white building. The Nike Art centre, owned by Mrs Morenike Davies Okundaye, is an Art centre which showcases not just her Art works but that of various other Nigerian artists. She does this to encourage the not so-supported Art culture in Nigeria and to preserve memories.
The art gallery is filled with art works everywhere. At the entrance, I was greeted by some uniquely wonderful still-life sculptures ranging from a huge crocodile made from tyres to animal sculptures like lions, and was warmly welcomed by a tour guide who took me round and explained in details as much as she could about various artists and artworks.
There are four floors of several amazing artworks spread across the building. Works of artists like Adeleke Akeem, Tola Wewe, Peju Alatise, even “mummy Nike” herself as she is fondly called, and many more. As I toured the gallery, the guide pointed out different works and gave a brief description of their corresponding artist. From moldings to handcrafts to paintings to indescribable works, everything had a prominent meaning.
As we made our way around, I could identify works from some artists I held in high regard. My favorite artworks were that of Peju Alatise. Looking at her pieces, I could tell that she is a woman with raging passion which she pours totally into her Art works without hesitation. I could connect most with her because as a woman, I am also struggling to rise in what has been labelled as a “man’s world”. The harder I stared at her works, the more I was lost in them. They felt like they were struggling to come alive, to break free from the shackles of the canvas that held them down.
Tola Wewe is another renowned artist whose art works are on display at the Nike Art center. His works are mainly influenced by the Yoruba society. His style and themes project traditional lore and myths of his native Yoruba culture. His artworks are just captivating. I was deeply immersed at one of his piece hanging in the gallery, like I was trying to solve a puzzle that tells me the whole story behind the painting. The emotions felt were just so strong, like I was connecting with the piece. Tola Wewe is Another artist that captivates me with his works.
I proceeded furthermore to other floors of astonishing Art pieces until we got to the top floor. I was led to mummy Nike’s studio where some of her wonderful works are conceived. I was told that some of the pieces take so much work and a great amount of time, up to a year or more,like the ongoing piece I saw has been since last year. It was a marvelous work in progress though.
People from far and wide come to the gallery to learn and have fun too. Classes for design, tie and dye, bead making and many more are held at the gallery at specific scheduled times. Tourists visiting the country come to this magnificent empire to see and appreciate the African culture on display.
The pieces available are for sale at their respective prices. There are also many other items on sale like the locally made tie and dye materials, already-made native dresses, “Danshiki” wears, everything bead you can think of ranging from waist beads to neck pieces, bracelets, and many others. Her written works are also available.
You should make out time to visit this wonderful structure at their various locations in the country. It’s just a breathtaking place to be. Its all MYVIEW!