For womenfolk, empowerment from Nike Gallery, Adara Foundation
In their bid to empower women economically, Nike Art Gallery and Adara Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, which empowers women and children in art, culture and education jointly sponsored a two-day workshop for less privileged women on the art of producing adire and batik textiles, recently.
The workshop, which featured 50 participants at the Elegushi Palace in the Lekki area of Lagos was a follow-up to an earlier one held in October last year.
The training took the participants through the processes involved in the production of tie and dye, whether it is for shawl, scarf, table cloth, curtains and fabrics for other uses; and batik which employs the use of wax. The event also provided the women the opportunity to undergo medical check up, courtesy of the Lagos State Government.
To underscore the need to expose them to the best hands, traditional women who are into traditional Yoruba tie and dye technique of adire eleko were among the instructors that taught them the use of cassava paste as a resist methodological technique and the traditional indigo dye in realising very beautiful symbolic designs.
Founder of Nike Art Gallery, Chief (Mrs.) Nike Okundaye said that the training was suitable for those who have the passion in practice these art forms and fashion because they require little space and capital to make them a business venture.
“The training programme is for the women who are underprivileged, single mothers and widows for them to know how to do their own textile from their own direct background. It is something that they can stay just behind their yard or one room in their home to do. Without even microfinance, they can start their own business. With as little as N5, 000, they can do something they can sell to the society and also for them to wear,” she said.
Okundaye disclosed that the training would continue to hold for women. “The workshop will hold from time to time and the location will be this palace of Oba Saheed Elegushi. He has been our big supporter from the beginning and he provided us this location we are holding the workshop. He is the one that gave us the Elegushi Art Market both men and women to sell their work. He has always been there for the artists. Somebody like me with the biggest art gallery in Africa is on his land; he has always given light to people who have no light.
“Last year, we ran the programme for 110 women. About 60 of them continued with the work. So, the people that we called back are the ones that we actually want to improve on.”
Representative of Adara Foundation, Precious Ibiye-Abaku said that the two organisations came together because they share in the vision of Okundaye regarding art and culture. “We like what Chief Okundaye is doing. She’s a great philanthropist; she’s been empowering women, giving them free training in tie and dye that they can make a living from. So, since we are lovers of art and culture, we then said let us complement what she is doing in this area for these women.
“We are not just giving them fish everyday to go and eat; we want them to learn how to fish. That is why we are telling them that even after the workshop you have to keep doing it. First, you have to have the interest that you want to promote the culture of Nigeria. We know it is known for tie and dye but it’s dying; so, we are trying to revive it and take it to international level so that when tourists come they can have it as souvenir to go back with and say this is a trademark of Nigeria because we go to places all over the world and we come back with things. But what do people take away from Nigeria? So, we want to put this alongside other Nigerian culture.”
A participant, Mrs. Rita Okosun shared her experience thus: “I like the programme because it just falls in place with my passion. I like creativity and it gives me that opportunity to create designs. I’ve been practicing it at home since the last time we had it in October last year. It teaches me to be patient because it takes time. When I see people who do it or wear the clothes, I understand that a lot of work has gone into it. So, I appreciate it more now than before I got involved in it. I intend to make money out of it.”
Another participant, a student of Osun State Polytechnic, Ire, Ruquayah Daod said: “It is a fantastic experience being at the programme last year and at this one. I see it as an advantage to achieve something more in my life; I wish to be a business tycoon in tie and dye. Since the last time I attended the programme, I have tried practicing the different lines – tie and dye, batik. I have also made attempts to advertise the products in my environment and they appreciated the products; even my neighbours demanded for more. From that experience, I see that if I go commercial in it, it will be a profitable venture.