Thursday 27 May 2021

How Sanwo-Olu, Michael, Oyetola, others celebrated Okundaye at 70

By Simeon Mpamugoh 

Joy Michael, during the exhibition at 70th birthday celebration of Chief Mrs Nike Davis-Okundaye at Eko Hotel & Suites.

Art enthusiast and Executive Director, Africa's Young Entrepreneurs Organization (A.Y. E), Joy Michael has noted that Mrs Nike Davies-Okundaye's art evokes a lot on versatility, and  transcends across multiple medium of expression. She added that her art was used as an empowerment tool, a medium of communication, and  an expression of culture and identity.

Michael made the observation at the 70th birthday party of the creative industry Icon held at the upscale Eko Hotel and Suites Convention Centre,  Victoria Island, Lagos. She said that 'Mama Nike' as she is fondly called, is a renowned artist, social entrepreneur and a philanthropist. The celebrant is the Owner/Curator of the Nike Art Gallery in Lagos State, Nigeria, and also the founder of the popular Nike Centre for Arts and Culture, Osogbo, Osun State, where trainings are offered free of charge to Nigerians in various forms. Mama Nike is an icon, a Pan African, promoter of Arts and Culture, humble entrepreneur and great humanist."

Michael equally shared her wishes with the celebrant saying, “Happy Birthday Legend! Happy Birthday Pan Africanist, Happy Birthday to a great Entrepreneur, the most lovable, humble and adorable star on this planet. I wish you all the very best, all the joy you can ever have and may you be blessed abundantly today, tomorrow and the days to celebrate."

Sharing her memories made of the celebration, Michael, the boss of the largest economic group in Africa with more than 12 million Pan African members said. "I met Mrs Nike Okundaye recently and it has always been her love for Adire and the Arts that endears me to her. And as a lover of art, I believe that  African art is rich, deep, beautiful, priceless, ageless, treasured, full of emotions, unspoken words and authenticity. The  other continents can't seize to want to own or bury it, but we will keep sharing the true African narrative."

She noted  that  Nigerian art and culture industry were not as celebrated and funded as it should be. "We have great talents in Nigeria, it is however sad that our artists are celebrated outside the shores of the country more than they are at home."

On what her NGO has done to better the lots of young artists  in the creative space, she enthused. "We have empowered a fashion designer in the person of Adejoke Lasisi."

In honour of  Nike and  her husband, Okundaye, the Lagos State Government in partnership with GAC motors recently celebrated her 70th birthday amidst glitz and glam. The event was anchored by humour merchant  Ali Baba, and graced by the Governors of Lagos and Osun States Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Gboyega Oyetola; Chairman of GAC Motors Nigeria, Chief Diana Chen; renowned Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka; Deputy Consulate General, American  Embassy; Oba of Ikate Elegushi, HRM Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi; TV producer, Mo Abudu; Stephanie and Linus Idahosa; and Pst Itua Ighodalo, among others.

The event showcased the richness of our culture with different cultural dance troupe, display of several artworks, traditional music and guests adorned in African prints. A fashion show was put together by the iconic Modella to celebrate and showcase the fashion uniquely of Nike Okundaye. The event featured three documentaries entitled: 'Nike the Greatest Artist, The Crown -Symbol  of Gele, and Mother of Many.' 

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