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Why youths need arts, crafts skills —Nike Okundaye

The artiste spoke at a Yoruba culture renaissance programme held in Lagos last weekend

RENOWNED textile artist and gallery owner, Chief (Mrs) Nike Okundaye, has advised youths to combine arts and crafts skills with formal education as an alternative stream of income.

Speaking at the Women’s Day edition of Yoruba Lakotun, a quarterly cultural renaissance programme held on Sunday, April 7 at Freedom Park, Lagos Island, Okundaye explained that Africa remains a fascinating continent for the rest of the world keen to know more about her culture, art and crafts.

She said that as a result of this, youth with an in-depth understanding of arts and crafts are in a vantage position to serve as resource persons to interested foreigners.

The owner of Nike Gallery at Lekki, Lagos said: “There are a lot of opportunities for people who have an in-depth understanding of arts and crafts because the world is currently researching deeply into Africa. We need to start showcasing our artworks which are in high demand in other continents.

“In the last 50 years, I have engaged in crafts such as painting, tie & dye, bead making and gele tying and I have been teaching people these skills across the globe. At the moment, younger and educated people who have a firm grasp of these skills are now making inroads; they are making electronic designs which are very profitable.  I think others should emulate them.”

Speaking earlier, event founder and host, Olutayo Irantiola, said that the latest edition was in celebration of the bravery of African women who have distinguished themselves professionally and gained global prominence in their respective fields.

He said Okundaye was the special guest because of her immense contributions to women empowerment through the various crafts training she has been organising for women in Osogbo, Osun State and globally.

Irantiola said: “Chief Mrs Nike Okundaye has taken her work across the globe, she has earned global recognition within various arts sphere and has relentlessly given back to the society by training hundreds of thousands of people who are also contributing meaningfully to the world today. She is an epitome of excellence and altruism and having done this successfully in the last five decades, is deserving of celebration.”

Apart from the live interview segment with Okundaye, the show also featured a drum recital by the Bata Drum Ensemble comprising Muyiwa Adefila, Oloyede Odofin and Olalere Ayantayo, and a quiz on Yoruba tonal marks anchored by Damilola Adebonojo popularly called Iya Yoruba. Moromoke Lawal spoke on outstanding and enterprising pre-colonial Yoruba women including Efunroye Tinubu and Efunsetan Aniwura, while Chief Gbemisoye Ayano taught guests descriptive symbols.

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