Mr. Busuyi says in Yoruba, while pointing at an Ayo set, “This thing ehn, this game. If a thief comes to your house and sees it, he won’t be able to stop himself from sitting down and playing it until daybreak. Until the owner wakes up and finds him.”
In the semi-dark, two-storey building of the original Nike Art Gallery, I watch his animated gestures and the seriousness in his face and I wish, not for the last time that day, that I could fully understand the Yoruba he was saying. But even in my mild confusion, I want to ask him to tell us more stories.
Inside the gallery are different forms of art – paintings, metal work, wood work, bead work, and more – and different types – contemporary, abstract, historical, etc. It seems like everything in the gallery is a piece of art, from the obvious pieces to the mundane practical objects, like the doors and the furniture.
But I am mostly drawn to the pieces with historical references. Like Mr. Busuyi’s story, it feels like I am being let in on a secret that is hundreds of years old.
Our guides illustrate tales about many of the items – including the staff and crown of the Oba, the towncrier’s gong, and an elaborate wooden sculpture with depictions of Yoruba festivals and masquerades – and their words paint such vivid images. It makes me yearn for, and undoubtedly regret, the history that is lost.
However, to be surrounded by the sculptures of Yoruba gods and goddesses – that my ancestors had worshipped, – by yards and yards of Adire, Tie-dye, and Aso-oke – similar to what my great great grandmother wore – to breath the air they once breathed in, I cannot help but feel a calmness that I am home.
- Entry is free and you can park at the tie and dye section.
- Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the tie and dye process in action as the rain was just clearing up and those in charge hadn’t come.
- The tie and dye section and the main gallery itself are not in the same place. However you can walk to one from the other.
- Address – Nike Arts Gallery & Workshop, Old Ede Road, P.O Box 911 Osogbo,Osun State. Tel – +2347087258070
- I’m sure you’ve guessed, but just incase you haven’t it is one of Mummy Nike‘s galleries.
*This was written by Tope, one of the people who came along on the trip