There are a few places I’ll admit have had the “Narnia effect’ on me. First would be this tiny book store I once found in Calabar, Second, The Cube Cafe Abuja and the Third? Nike Art Gallery.
Actually looking up the gallery online didn’t prepare me for what I experienced. I must also add that seeing the location kinda made me a little skeptical. However, with Mishdoo’s trusted driving skills (thank you Mishdoo), google map (and one missed turns :D) we were there! It really is super easy to find, with a detailed description and land marks it’s like 5mins from the Abuja city gate.
Finding the gallery like I said earlier, was no issues at all!
The Nike Art Galley Abuja is located in Piwoyi village, Lugbe. Abuja. It is along the International Airport Road, in the direction of Abuja Airport from Abuja town.It’s a little drive up the road right at the next turning after MRS Filling station Lugbe.
Driving up the dirt road though we were a little worried it would take us a little while to get there. Strangely enough, before that thought was even completed we were driving into the art center premises. (It’s that easy to find.)
The Art Centre
Getting to the centre we were greeted by the coolest guide ever , Olajide who had previously given us directions over the phone.
Olajide briefed us on the establishment of the centre which he said had been in existence since 2002! (Did you know this?)
Centre is open from about 9 a.m – 5 p.m daily.
At this point I had already been awe struck and so overwhelmed at the art pieces I was seeing. From the walls to the trees; I was blown away and I hadn’t even stepped into the main gallery.
The gallery is partitioned into two. The first part displayed pieces crafted from iron, wood and my favorite of all time , a piece made from flip flops (as in ‘baff room”slippers).
The walls of the gallery were not left out as faces and other images were projected from the walls adding to the overall aesthetic of the centre.
The second part on the other hand, held paintings of different medium by different amazing artists.
A few works of Chief (Mrs) Oyenike Monica Okundaye , founder of the Nike Art Centre were hung there as well.
Also, pieces by Nigerian artist Joseph Eze were some of the ones that stood out to me. Pieces by this artist celebrate femininity and womanhood and were delicate yet very deliberate. The photos do his work no justice at all.
Textile and outdoor
After a reluctant exit from the display centre , Olajide led us to the Nike textile workshop were we witnessed workers about their business. At this point it was explained that our trusted primary school method of dying had indeed changed . Instead of the strings on plain cloth, wax is used presently.
We were shown the dye pits, local silos, seats and stools carved out of stone and other outdoor statues and pieces.
The experience is definitely one I would never forget.
Would I visit again? Definitely! And I do recommend you try it out if you wanna get away from the city hassle for some peace and quiet. 😀