Google celebrates Nigerian Legendary potter Ladi Kwali
Her work at the Skoto Gallery in New York, on March 16, 2017 commemorated with a Google doodle
Nigerian potter Ladi Kwali was celebrated by Google with a doodle on its home page on Wednesday, 16th March, 2022.
Ladi Kwali was born on the 12th August 1984 (aged 58–59) in the village of Kwali in the Gwari region of Northern Nigeria, where pottery was an indigenous occupation among women. She learned to make pottery as a child by her aunt using the traditional method of coiling.
She was a ceramicist, glassworker, and potter who introduced the international community to the beauty of Nigerian art through intricately decorated earthenware.
In her childhood, she learned pottery and then developed her own style, which included ornamenting everyday containers with animal icons.
Her works were showcased as masterful decorations in the homes of the wealthy and even palaces.
In 1950, Michael Cardew, founder of Abuja’s first potter training centre, discovered her talent after seeing her work at a royal palace.
In 1954, Ladi Kwali joined the Abuja Pottery as its first female potter. There, she learned wheel throwing, glazing, kiln firing, production of saggars, and the use of slip, eventually assuming the role of instructor. She made bowls with sgraffito decoration, which involved dipping vessels in red or white slip and then scratching the decoration through the slip to the underlying body, using a porcupine quill. the time Cardew left his post in 1965, the Centre had attracted four additional women from Gwari: Halima Audu, Lami Toto, Assibi Iddo, and Kande Ushafa.
Ladi Kwali became the first Nigerian woman to train in advanced pottery techniques, fusing her traditional style with innovative methods to craft a hybrid collection of pottery.
She achieved international acclaim in the 60s following exhibitions across Europe and the Americas.
She later became a university lecturer and received a doctorate from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1977.
In 1963 she was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire. In honour of her contributions to academia, she received the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award in 1980 and was also awarded the national honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger in 1981.
Ladi Kwali remains the first and only woman to feature on a Nigerian Naira note, N20.
Google doodle commemorates Kwali’s exhibition at Skoto Gallery in New York on March 16, 2017.
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