Google honours Nigerian potter, Ladi Kwali with Doodle

Google honours Nigerian potter, Ladi Kwali with Doodle

The Google Doodle for today, Wednesday honors Ladi Kwali, a Nigerian educator, ceramicist, glassworker, and potter who used beautifully adorned earthenware creations to enlighten the world to the beauty of Nigerian art. On this date in 2017, the Skoto Gallery in New York held an exhibition of Ladi Kwali’s work.

Ladi Dosei Kwali was born in Kwali, Abuja, Nigeria, in 1925 to a family of potters. During her childhood, her aunt taught her the coil and pinch methods of pottery, which Kwali eventually perfected into her own style as she crafted ordinary vessels with animal symbolism. Local nobility soon began displaying her amazing work as home decorations, and Michael Cardew, the founder of Abuja’s first potter training facility—discovered her talent in 1950.

Kwali joined the Abuja Pottery Center in 1954, where she became the first Nigerian woman to receive advanced pottery training. She combined her traditional style with modern cutting-edge techniques to create a hybrid collection of zoomorphic-styled pottery. Kwali continued to defy expectations far into the 1960s, with exhibitions in Europe and the Americas earning him international recognition.

Kwali afterwards worked as a university instructor, where she shared the secrets of her trade with the community. In recognition of her efforts, she was awarded a doctorate by Ahmadu Bello University in 1977 and the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award in 1980, which is one of the country’s highest academic honors. Kwali is commemorated today with every exchange of the twenty Naira note, Nigeria’s first and only female-themed money.

Ladi Kwali, here’s to you. Thank you for putting your own stamp on a classic craft and carving out a niche for future generations of female artists.

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