GAC Motors, on Sunday, May 23rd, 2021, hosted a grand event to commemorate the 70th birthday celebration of an iconic Nigerian designer and creative industry veteran, Chief Nike Okundaye.
The iconic avant-garde artist and her outstanding works have significantly impacted the art industry by positively showcasing Nigerian Arts & Culture locally and abroad over the last six decades.
Sunday’s occasion featured an inaugural award ceremony, the Art Iconia Award, focused on recognizing and appreciating the unique contributions of creative industry veterans who have dedicated their life’s work and artistic expression towards the advancement of their industry. The narrative-redefining award is set to hold annually and will reset the prevalent culture of posthumous celebrations.
In partnership with the Lagos State Government, GAC Motors headlined Mama Nike’s birthday celebration in a classy affair powered by leading International branding and PR agency, Del-York International.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, whilst gracing the event held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, paid eloquent tribute to Mama Nike’s distinguished legacy by presenting her with a surprise birthday gift; a brand new GAC GN8. Mama Nike is the first owner of the high-end luxury Multipurpose Vehicle (MPV) model in Lagos.
The Governor, who is actively investing in Lagos State’s creative industry, reiterated his vision for the industry’s growth and the importance of venerating those who have made significant contributions to the Nigerian development story. “Nikky Mama,” as he fondly called her, is a glaring example of such promise. The governor further said,
“We are grateful for your life and your personal commitment to the emancipation of women; to your very creative deeds that you have done, but more importantly, for the youth, through your entrepreneurial and economic empowerment activities.”
Also in attendance were the Osun State governor, His Excellency, Adegboyega Oyetola with his wife, Kafayat Oyetola; the Vice Chairman of Choice International, Linus Idahosa and his wife, Chief of Staff to the Osun State Governor, Dr. Charles Akinola; Osun State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Obawale Simeon; Olojodu of Ido Osun, Oba Architect Adedapo Aderemi; Kabiyesi of Ikate Land, Oba Adeniyi Elegushi, with his wife, Olori Sekinat; the celebrant`s husband, Chief Reuben Okundaye; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe; The Senior Pastor of Trinity House Church, Ituah Ighodalo; President of the Nigerian Football Association, Amaju Pinick, among others.
The event’s headliner, GAC Motors, represented by the Chairman and Chief Host, Chief Diana Chen, who presented a gift from the Chinese embassy to Mama Nike, described her as a leader who is committed to promoting the Nigerian culture across the globe.
The Governor of Osun State commended Mama Nike, saying that her passion for the art, specifically the Osogbo textile tradition, has inspired her to elevate and immensely impact the art industry in Osun State. He further commented,
“I think of her as an innovator, who, through her innovativeness, has captured our imagination uniquely and has redefined the use of art and craft to project our resourcefulness as a people. Through her brilliant adire works that breathe the finest artistry of the Osogbo and Yoruba tradition, she has brought immense global recognition to us. She has opened an array of possibilities for many of our young people.”
The ICONIA event wonderfully exhibited select masterpiece artworks and structures from Mama Nike’s Art Gallery. Other experiential exposés by foremost air conditioning brand Gree AC alongside Lontor Hi-Tech, a top rechargeables manufacturer in Nigeria, were also displayed.
Nobel Laureate and friend to Mama Nike, Professor Wole Soyinka, expressed that meeting Mama Nike was a wonderful and stimulating event. He also commended Chief Diana for having an eye for artistic talent. In his words,
“Like all good business people, she knows a good thing when she sees it.”
Deputy Consulate General of the American Embassy, Ross Conroy, described Chief Okundaye as renowned and ever-impressive. He also commended her for being committed to promoting prosperity, unity, and the preservation of culture through art. He added that
“The US Consulate in Lagos is proud of her contributions, given that she’s an alumnus of the International Visitor Leadership Program in 1974.”
The Olojodu of Ido-Osun, Oba Architect Adedapo Aderemi, who gifted Mama Nike, a royalty staff, showed his immense appreciation for her contribution to attaining the fifth Sustainable Development Goal: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
Chief Reuben Okundaye, Mama Nike’s husband, described her as a loving, caring, and hardworking wife. He also said that she loves people and helps them, even to her displeasure.
The celebrant, full of zest when called for the vote of thanks, invited her children and proteges, as according to her, she couldn’t show enough gratitude.
GAC Motor has been at the forefront of the creative and sports industries in Nigeria. The fast-growing automobile brand continues to hold promise for the future of the Nigerian creative industry.
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