Photographed by Mohini Ufeli, Written by Eyitemi Popo

On a recent trip to Lagos, the ladies of Styled by Africa joined our editor-in-chief, Eyitemi Popo, at the Nike Art Gallery for a photoshoot with QAA wearable art. While shooting, we met with the legendary artist, Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye, fondly called Mummy Nike, for a tour of her gallery, the largest privately owned gallery space in Africa.
Here are some lessons we learned from the hospitable, well-travelled and ever-graceful textile artist, painter, philanthropist, business woman, cultural curator and mother of Nigerian Art:
1. Always Be Ready
Nike Okundaye_Ayiba
You don’t have to wake up flawless, but be ready to get flawless. When we asked Mummy Nike to join our photoshoot, she asked us to give her some time to get set. Fortunately, her makeup artist was on call and her now, signature gele (Yoruba head piece) was also on standby.
2. Every Queen Needs Her Crown
Nike Okundaye_Kiran Yoliswa_AyibaIMG_1241.JPG
As Mummy Nike tied geles for Kiran and Alae, she told of us of her travels around the world (including visiting all 50 U.S. states) and how she would wear her gele wherever she went. “I would wear my gele on the streets of London, though I had to take it off when getting into the black cabs, but I would put it back on when I got where I was going. Some tourists would take pictures of me and my hosts were always worried because they thought people would think I was rich and try to steal from me.”
3. A Smile Completes The Look
Styled by Africa_Nike Art_Ayiba Magazine
Nike Okundaye_Styled by Africa_ Ayiba
As soon as Kiran and Alae put their geles on, they felt properly Nigerian and couldn’t help but beam with joy. A reaction that mirrored Mummy Nike’s radiant smile and matched the vibrant colors and emphasized accessories the ladies were wearing.
4. Each Piece Tells A Story
Nike Okundaye_ Styled by Africa
Mummy Nike told us about her work with textiles, especially Batik. “Most people know me for my textiles. Here is an article about me in the UK guardian,” she said as she showed us the newspaper clipping.
She also showed us a certificate she received while working in Italy helping Nigerian sexworkers gain skills in creating African prints. She pointed out Kiran’s beaded ankara dress and Alae’s silk Batik and handwoven Aso Oke dress. Mummy Nike made the silk Batik fabric used in Alae’s dress. She explained the symbolism of some of the adire patterns used in her textiles like the barbed wire, for example, which signifies the protection of ones soul from outside forces.
5. Pose With Pride
Styled by Africa_Ayiba Magazine_Nike ArtWhen you are dressed from head to toe in African attire, it seems this pose just comes naturally.
6. Share Your Style, Share Your Culture
Styled by Africa_Nike Art
Mummy Nike’s gallery brings visitors from around the globe to Lagos to view the best of Nigerian art. The designs worn by the ladies are from QAA wearable art situated inside the Nike Art Gallery. The intricate pieces designed by Queen Ahneva Ahneva with fabric prints made by Mummy Nike are a way of taking African art to the world.
7. “Fabulous” Never Fades
Nike Davies Okundaye

THEN

NOW

NOW