Who is Ladi Kwali? What you should know about the late Nigerian porter
Ladi Kwali was a potter, educator, and ceramicist who used intricately decorated earthenware designs to introduce the international community to the beauty of Nigerian art.
She learned to make pottery as a child and went on to develop her own style, which included making everyday containers with animal iconography.
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Kwali’s works were displayed in wealthy people’s homes and even palaces as masterful decorations.
After seeing her work at a royal palace, Michael Cardew, the founder of Abuja’s first potter training centre, discovered her talent in 1950.
Kwali was the first Nigerian woman to study advanced pottery techniques, combining her traditional style with cutting-edge techniques to create a unique collection of pottery.
Following exhibitions across Europe and the Americas in the 1960s, she gained international acclaim.
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Kwali went on to become a university lecturer and earned a doctorate in 1977 from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.
She was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1963. She was awarded the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award in 1980 for her contributions to academia, as well as the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger in 1981.
Kwali is still the only woman to appear on a Nigerian Naira note, the N20.
The doodle honours Kwali’s exhibition at the Skoto Gallery in New York, which took place on March 16, 2017.
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