On Wednesday, Google honoured Nigerian potter Ladi Kwali by posting a doodle in his honour on the search engine’s home page.
Kwali was an academic, ceramicist, glassworker, and potter who helped bring the beauty of Nigerian art to the international population through beautifully adorned earthenware designs. Kwali’s work may be found in museums and private collections across the world.
She started learning how to make pottery when she was a child, and later she created her own style, which included making containers for everyday use that were decorated with images of animals.
The works of Kwali were displayed as works of art and skillful decorations in the residences of the wealthy and even in palaces.
Her ability was initially recognised in 1950 by Michael Cardew, the man who established the first pottery training centre in Abuja. He did so after seeing her work displayed in a royal palace.
Kwali was the first Nigerian woman to receive training in sophisticated pottery techniques. She created a hybrid collection of pottery by blending her traditional style with modern methods and became the first Nigerian woman to receive such training.
In the 1960s, as a result of her participation in exhibitions in both Europe and the Americas, she gained widespread recognition on a global scale.
Later in life, Kwali pursued higher education and ultimately earned a doctorate from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria in 1977. He went on to teach at a university.
Her accomplishments earned her the title of Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1963. She was presented with the Officer of the Order of the Niger in 1981 and the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award in 1980, both of which were bestowed upon her in recognition of the significant achievements she had made to the academic community.
Kwali is still the first and only woman to appear on a bank note of any kind in Nigeria. The note in question is the N20.
The exhibition of Kwali’s work was held at the Skoto Gallery in New York City on March 16, 2017, and Google’s doodle was created to honour the event.