Nigerian artist Nike Okundaye appointed as the Goodwill Amb. for the Busan 2030 World Expo
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Nigerian artist Nike Okundaye appointed as the Goodwill Amb. for the Busan 2030 World Expo
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2022.09.28 11:45
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Ahead of the final voting in November 2023 for hosting rights for the 2030 World Expo

By Yuccee O. Uwah, chief of The Korea Post Nigeria Bureau

The Korea’s Goodwill Ambassador

Ahead of final voting in November 2023 for hosting rights for 2030 World Expo, the Embassy of Republic of Korea in Nigeria has appointed notable Nigerian artist, Ms. Nike Okundaye as a goodwill ambassador to drum up support for the country’s bid to host the global event.

The Nigerian iconic artist, Ms. Okundaye is expected to be leading voice for global business and cultural festival to be hosted by port city of Busan, South Korea with the theme: “Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future”

Amb. Kim Young-chae of Korea to Nigeria and his wife (5th and 6th from left) take a commemorative photo after appointing Nike Okundaye (4th from left) as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Busan 2030 World Expo.
Amb. Kim Young-chae of Korea to Nigeria and his wife (5th and 6th from left) take a commemorative photo after appointing Nike Okundaye (4th from left) as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Busan 2030 World Expo.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Kim Young Chae, unveiled Ms. Okundaye as goodwill ambassador in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital on August 10, 2022. Prominent political and business leaders, artists, and culture patrons witnessed unveiling of Ms. Okundaye by Korea Embassy as its goodwill ambassador.

The acclaimed artist, Ms. Okundaye will headline Korea’s bid for 2030 Busan Expo collaborating with the Embassy by disseminating information on the event to art patrons visiting Nike Art Gallery, a popular gallery located in Lagos.

Amb. Kim Young-chae of Korea to Nigeria
Amb. Kim Young-chae of Korea to Nigeria

The Expo is scheduled to run for six months from May 1 to October 31, 2030 will foster economic growth, inclusiveness, cultural exchange, friendship and global peace.

Ms. Nike Okundaye, the Busan 2030 goodwill ambassador is a leading Nigeria artist popularly known for her corpus of work on Batik and Adire genre of art. She is a leading champion for promotion of African artists and women at the global level. She has held solo and participated at global exhibitions across continents and Africa.

She designed Nigerian Pavilion at the World Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany held in 2020. Her works adorn several places across the world as her admirers’ cuts across several countries.

Nike Okundaye (left) and Ambassador Kim Young-chae
Nike Okundaye (left) and Ambassador Kim Young-chae

“Under her new role, Ms. Okundaye will in close partnership with the Korean Embassy in Nigeria, will deepen and widen the support base for the Busan EXPO to visitors to her gallery as well as extend her network of friends and patrons across the world.” Ambassador Chae noted.

The World Expo scheduled to run from May 1 to October 2030, the global will boost commerce and tourism with millions of visitors expected to the city that wins the hosting right.

“Why South Korea is bidding to Host World Expo 2030 in Busan,

A prospective view of the 2030 Busan Expo
A prospective view of the 2030 Busan Expo

Ambassador Kim Young-chae

According to the Korea Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young Chae disclosed that the since journey for Busan World Expo 2030 began in June 2021, when the Republic of Korea indicated its interest to host global event.

Ambassador Chae said “In June 2021, the Republic of Korea submitted a letter of candidature to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to organize World Expo 2030 in the city of Busan. The Republic of Korea’s candidature is based on the theme “Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future”, and if successful, the Expo would take place in Busan’s North Port district between 1 May and 31 October 2030.”

“As one of the 10 largest economies in the world, Korea is a global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) powerhouse. Korea is leading the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with technologies in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Smart Mobility. Korea is also a cultural powerhouse. K-culture, encompassing drama, movies, music, and food, has taken the world by storm, enabling Korea to become a global trendsetter in soft power.” He added.

“In addition, Korea has successfully transformed itself from a developing country into a developed country during the last 60 years. Although it is a divided country, Korea has been actively participating in global efforts to promote peace and harmony. Korea’s story is one of a remarkable transformation. Through hard work and perseverance, Korea learned many valuable lessons to share with the world.”

“Busan, the candidate city, is Korea’s second-largest city and the largest port city with excellent infrastructure. The city has been a hub of transportation and logistics and a gateway at the intersection of the Eurasian Continent and the Pacific Ocean. Busan represents the past, present, and future of Korea. It has played a crucial role in Korea’s growth, from one of the poorest countries receiving economic aid to a donor country. During the Korean War, the city was home to a million refugees. The Busan Spirit embodies the World EXPO values of education, innovation, and cooperation.”

The Ambassador added that “Busan boasts a well-equipped infrastructure such as airports and high-speed railways as well as the world’s second-largest transshipment port and is easily accessible from anywhere. Busan holds unparalleled experiences and unrivaled expertise in hosting international conferences, events, and exhibitions such as the 2002 Asian Games, and the 2005 APEC Summit. With 40 million tourists visiting the city every year, Busan has been at the forefront of spreading K-culture and holding various cultural events such as the Busan International Film Festival, and Busan One Asia Festival.”

“Busan truly represents and embodies the proposed theme of the World Expo, “Transforming our World” and this global and mega city has full capacity to host the World EXPO and powerful potential to realize the ideal of the BIE and World EXPO. The Korean Embassy will campaign tirelessly to secure the support of Nigeria until the selection day.” He said.

“With the conferment of the goodwill ambassador, Nike Okundaye will play a vital role in promoting the Republic of Korea and Busan in Lagos as well as Nigeria and West Africa until the voting day for the 2030 World Expo site selection scheduled for November 2023. The Korean Embassy and Nike Art Gallery will continue to promote cultural cooperation just as they co-hosted the Nigerian Female Art Exhibition held in March, this year.” Ambassador Chae noted.

Profile

Ms. Nike Okundaye, Goodwill Ambassador for Busan World Expo 2030

Chief Mrs. Nike Okundaye, is an internationally renowned female designers and artists with several years of practice that took her to several countries.

In March 2022, Ms. Okundaye facilitated an art exhibition that had Nigerian women artists exhibit their works across many arts forms to celebrate International Women Day.

In August 2022, she was unveiled by the Republic of Korea Ambassador to Nigeria as Goodwill Ambassador for Busan World Expo 2030 to drum support for South Korea to host the global event scheduled for May 1 to October 31, 2030 in the port city of Busan, South Korea.

She held her first solo exhibition at the Goethe Institute, Lagos, Nigeria in 1968. Ms. Okundaye is one of major names on international art circuit. She began the trade during her growing up years, learning from traditional weaving and dying practice in her native village of Ogidi, Ijumu local government council of Kogi state, North Central Nigeria. Her artistic skills were nurtured by her parents and great grandmother, who were musicians and craftspeople specialising in cloth weaving, Adire making, indigo dying and leather.

Ms. Okundaye spent early part of her life in Oshogbo, Osun state Nigeria recognized as one of the major centres for art and culture in Nigeria. During her stay in Oshogbo, she received informal training on indigo and adire. Today, she is an acclaimed proud product of famous Oshogbo Art School.

The dynamism of Nike’s compositions, coupled with the complexity and firm structure, emerge in her textile designs particularly for the adire and batiks. Nike brings to her adire a vivid imagination as well as a wealth of history and tradition regulating the production of adire. Adire is the traditional Yoruba hand painted cloth.

Traditional adire designs are a myriad, full of meaning and history, which are combined into larger overall patterns with names that are universally recognized in the Yoruba culture. She seeks to re-establish the value of adire as art, and to increase the appreciation of this meticulously designed, hand produced textile. For many years, this veteran adire artist has created both Adire and batik works that glorify the social practices and the cosmic drama of Yoruba tradition. The prevailing indigo colour of her textiles accentuates the aura, mystery and beauty of her designs.

In 2013, Ms. Okundaye’s painting with famous Adire symbols in the background was accepted by world’s largest museum, The Smithsonian. She ‘represents new breed of African female artist, many of whose realities are now international, though in essence they are perpetuating living tradition of female artists and ‘cloth-queens’, controlling heady empires of fabric wealthy powerful women’. She is globally recognized for promoting her unique designs at exhibitions and workshops in Nigeria, USA, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy, among others.


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