Finally at madamsabiblog.com

Finally, friends..we have moved. We tried to export all our luggage and furnitures ( laughing) but it was an herculean task .So we thought of providing a link from this wordpress account to our http://www.madamsabiblog.com. The decision, I love it because am about to still read all the lovely blog posts on wordpress as I will no longer be deleting this blog! The idea came over the night and I was excited.

Yes, to everyone am following, I will still be looking over your shoulders reading and mingling! ( really excited).

We have created a link here and also all around this blog so you can move around at will..

Plenty love. Thanks for being there.

Nike Okundaye : Queen Of The African Textile

Mrs Okundaye is the face behind the huge success story of Nike Arts Gallery,located in Lagos, Abuja and Osogbo.

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As a lover of art in all its forms, I was encouraged by ‘an uncle’ of mine to explore what my home country ( Nigeria) has to offer in terms of art and showcase it to the world. To my amazement, I have began to sit back and notice a lot of great people doing exploits in the globe scene of which, Mrs Nike Okundaye is one of them.

Born in her native village of Ogidi, Ijumu local government area, Kogi state, little Nike had big dreams about what type of future she wanted for herself. But her dreams were truncated when she lost her mother at age six. Shortly after the family tragedy, young Nike was taken away to live with her grandmother, who at that time was the leader of cloth weavers in the community.

“I come from a family of craftsmen. My parents were crafts people from Ogidi in Ijumu local government area, Kogi state. My life as an artist is something that I was born with. I started weaving at the age of six.

“I started with weaving different things, including adire, a traditional Yoruba hand-painted cloth design. As a matter of fact, I can say everything that had to do with textile. They taught me how to weave, using a little calabash. Gradually, I graduated to using bigger materials,” she said.

Although Nike was just six years old, she already had a vivid picture of the kind of future she was dreaming about.

My grandmother was the head of all the weavers in our community. So, even as a little child, I already had a dream that I would own a big studio when I grew up. People came from different areas to buy the cloth from her. So, at that time, I already sensed that I might not have the opportunity to go to school.”

The grandmother, whose responsibility was to take care of Nike, did not pamper the girl, instead, she instilled the virtue of hard work in her granddaughter’s young, impressionable mind.

“I would cry and lament because I thought she was wicked and punishing me. But today, I always thank her for inculcating in me the virtue of hard work. It was through her that I learnt that you must persevere in whatever you do and never give up on your dreams.”

Nike truly believes that destiny might have been involved in the way her life played out, including her mother’s death. According to her, her mother was a very hard working woman, and if she had not died she would have trained her up to university level. Nike’s father was a farmer, who apart from work did several other things like basket weaving to have additional income.

But today, I look at my childhood and all that I went through as something designed by destiny. Who knows, maybe if my mother had not died and I had gone ahead to be educated, I may never have had the kind of opportunity that I have today and may never have risen to the level that I am now”

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Nike Davies Okundaye : ‘Nike’s A Group Of Friends’ (2004)

It would be noted that Nike never went to school to study art, vocational training in art was passed down to her by her grandmother. Watching her grandma in the art of adire textile processing and helping her, Nike was practicing herself and became an expert in adire making, dyeing, weaving, painting and embroidery.

Today, Nike is a world acclaimed artist and textile designer. Her works are celebrated in major capitals of the world, with her designs exhibited in the USA, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Italy and many others.

In 2000, the Italian government invited Nike to train young Nigerian sex workers on how to use their hands to engage in creative ventures. When the talented designer got to Italy, she taught Nigerian women skills in craft making and many of them became self-reliant and stopped their old means of income.

In 2006, she was awarded one of the highest national awards of merit by the Italian government in appreciation of her efforts in using art to address and solve the problems of Nigerian sex workers in Italy.

Some works of Nike can be found amongst the collection of prominent politicians around the world, including the White House.

Two former presidents of the USA, Bill Clinton and George Bush, were so impressed by her works at various times that they sought audience with her during their visits to Nigeria. Nike not only met and shook hands with the two former presidents, she even decorated George Bush’s room in Abuja during his visit to the country.

According to her, these two incidents, were some of the best things to have happened to her in her life.

When President Bill Clinton of the US visited Nigeria, he asked to meet the woman behind Nike Gallery, and I was taken to Abuja to meet him. It was the same thing with President George Bush. I was invited to meet him in Abuja during his visit to Nigeria. I was the one that decorated the room where the president stayed during the visit. What honour can be greater than this? I feel accomplished.”

As an accomplished artist, Nike has taught in several prestigious universities in the USA and Canada.

I have lectured and held workshops in several noble institutions across the world. Some of the universities include Harvard, Columbus, Edmonton, Ohio and in Los Angeles, among others. My first experience with teaching was in 1974. At that time, I taught people with doctoral degrees.”

“The type of education I had at that time was the education that is passed from parents to their children, not the education you get in a classroom. It was the practical type of education,” she said.

In 1983, she established the Nike Centre for Art and Culture in Osogbo, Osun state, where trainings are offered free of charge to Nigerians in various forms of arts. The centre was opened with 20 young girls who were picked from the streets and offered free food, free materials  and a new life in arts. So far, more than 3,000 young Nigerians have been trained there.

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The centre also admits undergraduate students from many universities in Nigeria for their industrial training programmes in textile design. Now it also admits students from Europe, Canada and the USA.

SOURCE: Naij.com news and The Nation Newspaper

Nigerian History: Ladi Kwali, the woman on the back of the N20 note

Ladi Dosei Kwali (1925-1983) popularly known as Dr Ladi Kwali was born in 1925 in Kwali town in the present Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,Nigeria.

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Picture credit: wikipedia

Ladi Kwali who is Nigeria’s best known potter  and of course, the best known of the Abuja potters. She was awarded a Doctorate and was made MBE in 1963 for the level of detail and skill she utilized while making her pots.

Making pots was women’s work in Kwali and the entire Gwari villages, therefore Ladi came to Abuja (the then Suleja) with knowledge of traditional Gwari pottery.

She did not at first take to the idea of using wheels and kilns and the other paraphernalia of the European potter, but proved to have a natural ability to throw. She was picked from her traditional home Kwali to the then Abuja the present Suleja because of her natural ability in making pots.

The Abuja Pottery Training Centre was established 1950 by an English potter, Michael Cardew, who was sent to the Abuja area by the then colonial government, ostensibly to improve the quality of local work.
But he found himself, for the next 15 years, in a symbiotic working relationship with local potters, in which he taught and was taught by potters like Ladi Kwali.

While Cardew introduced wheels and kilns to the centre, he also learnt about traditional firing methods and ornamentation. Kwali on the other hand, was initially reluctant to adapt to the wheel, preferring the spiralled coil method of building pots. She however, discovered she had a natural flair for the wheel. Cardew encouraged her to decorate her work, something she had not done before, and he even fired some of her traditional work in the Abuja kiln.

Ladi was later to become a very popular member of the touring lecture team; her easy nature and ability to communicate made her well liked and appreciated in Europe, Britain and America. She became Nigeria’s best known potter and has been honoured in many ways; she was given a doctorate.

By the time she died in 1983, Dr Ladi Kwali was Nigeria’s best known potter. She left a rich legacy of her work and a school of ‘students’ who picked up from where she left at the Abuja Pottery Training Centre. Over the next decade, her ornamentation skills became more sophisticated, and probably because of improved firing methods, she had the opportunity to exhibit her work in Europe in 1958, 1959 and 1962.

Her pottery was also displayed during Nigeria’s independence celebrations in 1960. Dr Ladi Kwali remained associated with the Abuja pottery works till she died. She gave lectures and demonstrations at home and abroad on her craft throughout her career.

The Story of “When Will You Marry? Artwork Done By Paul Gauguin

When Will You Marry? Tahitian: Nafea faa ipoipo?  is a painting of two Tahitian women by French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin in 1892 whose work won little or no acclaim in his lifetime but as at Feb 2015, it has become the most expensive artwork ever at a king’s ransom of nearly $300m.

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When Will You Marry? is an oil painting with its dimensions being 101 by 77 centimetres (40 in × 30 in). It was done in Tahiti when Gauguin travelled there for the first time in 1891, after becoming estranged from his wife and was facing financial difficulties given the unpopularity of his art. He also came up with the idea of making the voyage to paint illustrations for the most popular novel at the time, Pierre Loti’s The Marriage of Loti.

His hope was to find untouched island where he could create pure, ‘primitive’ art”, rather than the primitivist faux works which was the facade of the moment by painters in France.

When Paul Gauguin got to Tahiti, he was disappointed. To his dismay, he learnt that it has been colonized by Europeans and about two-thirds of the indigenous people of the island had been killed by diseases brought by Europeans. The original “Primitive” culture had been wiped out. Despite this, he painted many pictures of native women: nude, dressed in traditional Tahitian clothes, and dressed in Western-style dresses, as is the rear figure in When Will You Marry?

In the painting , When Will You Marry?, Richard Field suggests the white tiare flower behind the girl in front’s left ear indicates she is seeking a husband. Again, the custom is alluded to in a 1914 letter from Rupert Brooke to Cathleen Nesbitt. According to Brooke, the flower worn at the left ear meant the wearer had found a sweetheart. Behind her a second figure in a high-necked Western-style dress sits erectly. Field thought her gesture derives from Buddhist art. While,Naomi E. Maurer subsequently identified it as a mudra denoting threatening or warning. The front woman stretches herself, her facial features stylized and simplified. Field thought her pose had a Japanese precedent, Charles F. Stuckey suggests Delacroix’s Women of Algiers.

Gauguin commonly inscribed his paintings in Tahitian at the time: he was fascinated by the language, though never learnt beyond its basics.

Arr historian Nancy Mowll Mathews also author of Paul Gauguin, An Erotic Life, wrote that Gauguin portrayed the natives as living only to sing and to make love. That’s how he got the money from his friends and raised the public’s interest in his adventure. But, of course, he knew the truth, which was that Tahiti was an unremarkable island with an international, westernised community.”

Despite that, his paintings of Tahitians, including When Will You Marry?, were met with relative indifference when Gauguin returned to France two years later. His 1893 Durand-Ruel exhibition was only a limited success generating some favourable reviews but little by way of sales.

Gauguin placed this painting on consignment at the exhibition at a price of 1,500 francs, the highest price he assigned and shared by only one other painting,but it had no buyers.

He also wrote an autobiographical account of his time in Tahiti called Noa Noa. According to Mathews, it was “the beginning of Gauguin’s writing of an erotic life for himself”.He was said to have had sexual relations with several of the women he painted in Tahiti, which include Vairaumati te Ioa, or Her Name is Vairaumati.

Those efforts also failed and the artist made a second trip to Tahiti. “He returned expecting the erotic idyll that was only ever a figment of his imagination,” Mathews said. “Of course, he didn’t find it and … he died a twisted and bitter man, having alienated everyone both at home and in Tahiti. It’s a sad story of a man who believed his own fiction.”

Like so many artists, Gauguin’s talent was not fully recognised until after his death, which came in 1903 at the age of 54 from a morphine overdose.

He was a major influence on 20th century greats such as Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Henri Matisse.

Staechelin eventually purchased it at the Maison Moos gallery in Geneva in 1917.

Staechelin, in his lifetime put together a wonderful collection  which included “When Will You Marry” as he was an art lover. He befriended artists and made most of his purchases during and after the first world war. He later advised the Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland , which took his collection as a loan following his death in 1946.

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It was there for nearly half a century before it was sold privately by 62-year-old former Sotheby’s executive Rudolf Staechelin, (grandson of the original buyer of the painting) to Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, in February 2015 for close to US $300 million (£197 million). The painting was on exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, until 28 June 2015. It is said that the Qatar Royal family is one of the owners of the most expensive art works in a private collection.

The Staechelin family trust currently owns more than 20 impressionist and post-impressionist works, which is still on loan to the Kunstmuseum in Basel for almost 50 years.

The Life of Rod Stewart

For those who don’t know, Rod Stewart is a popular United Kingdom and United States pop/rock musician.With his signature raspy voice, creative clothing selections, and his blonde hair, he has empowered the world with his lyrics and music since the 1960s.

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Born on January 10th in the year of 1945, Rod Stewart has been a part of many bands in the United Kingdom. His first hit single in his solo career happened in 1971, “Maggie May”.

While he had a bit of a lull in his career during the 1980s and only a couple of hits during the 1990s, he returned strong in the 2000s. He even picked up a Grammy Award for “Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album” in the year of 2004.

Rod Stewart experienced many challenges in pursuing his dream to become a musician.

His life started by being born into a working-class family. While growing up, he worked on many odd jobs in order to make money for his financial responsibilities. Few people know it, but, he even worked as a grave digger. He spent a lot of time in many different bands before striking out on his own.

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While he loved music and the bands that he was part of, he desired more. He had that “burning desire” in his chest to achieve higher levels of success. He had many ups and downs with his solo career. That is, until 2002, when he released, “It Had to be You: The Great American Songbook”. It was with this album, he was truly brought to life. It was an album of classic songs that he decided to make his own. He released many volumes of these albums and renewed his career.

By following Rod Stewart’s example and finding our own burning desire to succeed, we are sure to enjoy the luxurious and rewards associated with our successes and create our own inspirational stories.

The “Card Players” Done By Paul Cezanne

This art work was done by Paul Cezanne and its valued at $250 million…it is called “Card Players”.Cezanne did it in a series of 5 and it is one of the most expensive artwork in the world.  What is the riddle behind the art that makes it so valuable like the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci,Judgement day by Michel Angelo and Starry Night by Van Gogh? Well,don’t ask me. I hope you like it..

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Before now, for years, it has being in the possession of a Greek shipping magnate called George Embiricos who owned and treasured the painting, rarely lending it. He was “entertained” but unmoved, according to one art dealer, by occasional offers for it that climbed ever higher alongside the art market in past decades. A few years ago, the painting was listed by artnews magazine as one of the world’s top artworks still in private hands.

Shortly before his death in the winter of 2011, Embiricos began discussions about its sale, which was handled by his estate. It was bought by Qatar for the sum of $250 million.

One of the most influential artists in the history of twentieth-century painting, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) has inspired generations of modern artists. Generally, he is  categorized as a Post-Impressionist. This is because of his unique method of building form with color and his analytical approach to nature influenced the art of Cubists, Fauvists, and successive generations of avant-garde artists.

He began  to paint in 1860 in his birthplace of Aix-en-Provence and subsequently studied in Paris.

Cézanne ignores the laws of classical perspective, allowing each object to be independent within the space of a picture while the relationship of one object to another takes precedence over traditional single-point perspective.

While the three works that Cézanne exhibited in 1874 at the first Impressionist exhibition were not fully in line with the Impressionist technique of quickly placing appliqués of pigment on the canvas, he did eventually abandon his relatively dark palette in exchange for brilliant tones and began painting out-of-doors, encouraged by the Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro (1830–1903). His Bathers (1976.201.12) of 1874–75 demonstrates a developed style and tonal scale in one of his first paintings of this theme, which recurs in his oeuvre.

In 1890, Cézanne began a series of five pictures of Provençal peasants playing cards. Widely celebrated as among the finest figure compositions completed by the artist, The Card Players  demonstrates his system of color gradations to build form and create a three-dimensional quality in the figures. They were created between 1890 and 1895, this quintet of oil paintings is considered a cornerstone of Cézanne’s “final period,” when he created some of his most acclaimed works. The exact chronology of The Card Players’ creation is a matter of debate.

These card players weren’t betting men. None of the five paintings show any money on the table for antes or pots. It has been speculated the quiet nature of the game combined with the lack of gambling could mean these men are enjoying a game similar to gin rummy. The men who posed for the Provencal peasants playing cards were farmhands, some of whom were employed at Cézanne’s estate.

During the five-year span in which he painted The Card Players, Cézanne created a dozen or so sketches and several painted portraits as practice for his series. The same farmhands were called on, sometimes again and again, to sit for these test studies.

Today, The Card Players are now spread around the world. Although they are sometimes reunited for shared exhibitions, The Card Players share no common home. One that features four men and a dour-looking boy is a highlight of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

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A similar piece that lacks the little boy can be found in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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One of three that portray a pair of card players is on view at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

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Another can be seen at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art,

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while the last is part of a private collection belonging to the royal family of Qatar.

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The Card Players now on exhibit in Paris was in the hands of bold burglars in August of 1961. It was the most famous of eight Cézanne paintings snatched from a traveling show in his hometown of Aix-en-Provence, France. Details of their recovery vary: Some sources say the paintings were returned a few months later once a ransom was paid, while others claim the whole lot was uncovered a year later in Marseille within an abandoned car.

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To show the depths of the national sense of loss over Card Players’ theft,  France commemorated the heist with a  memorial stamp which was issued, creating a colorful marker for a grim event.

In 1895, the dealer Ambroise Vollard (1867–1939) held Cézanne’s first one-man exhibition at his gallery in Paris.
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Although the exhibition met with some skepticism, Cézanne’s reputation as a great artist grew quickly, and he was discussed and promoted by a small circle of enthusiasts, including the art historian and critic Bernard Berenson , American painter Mary Cassatt , and collectors Henry Osborne Havemeyer  and his wife Louisine Havemeyer.

Posthumous exhibitions at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune and the Salon d’Automne in 1907 in Paris established Cézanne’s artistic legacy.