This women’s Buba made of adire fabric in a water design is by Nigerian designer and textile artist Nike Davies-Okundaye. Adire is a type of textile where fabric is dyed with indigo, with patterns being created using different techniques to resist the dye. This is an example of tie and dyed adire called adire oniko. The pattern means ‘water has no enemy’ and it is a symbol of communication. This was a fashionable design in the 1980s and 1990s in Nigeria. Collected as part of the Fashioning Africa project.
Creator: Nike Davies-Okundaye
Place: Nigeria, West Africa, Africa
At the timing of writing, professional photography of all of the new collection has not been completed due to Covid 19. The image of the buba featured here was take by researcher Harriet Hughes when she visited the Nike Art Gallery in Lagos.
Nike Davies-Okundaye was profiled by Helen Jennings for the publication Fashion Cities Africa:
This legendary textile designer, artist and women’s right advocate owns the biggest gallery in West Africa in Lagos plus four further art centres across the country teaching artisanal skills including dying, weaving, embroidery and beadwork. She has exhibited globally and inspires a new generation of Nigerian designers.
“Designs would come to me in my dreams…”
Nike Davies-Okundaye, photographed for the Fashion Cities Africa book.
“I was born in Ogidi and my mother died when I was six. My great grandmother was the head of the craftswomen in the village and taught me the women’s loom and adire. When I was 13 my father tried to marry me to a minister for the dowry so I ran away and joined a travelling theatre. I discovered how to make wax fabric and patchwork. Designs would come to me in my dreams and my textiles became popular.”