Ladi Kwali: Beyond the Picture on N20 Note

Ladi Kwali, an iconic Nigerian potter was recognised for her distinctive talent in pottery designs and decorations.

Kwali is a village in the Gwari region of northern Nigeria, where pottery is an exclusive occupation among women. 

Depicted on N20 naira note, Kwali lived between 1925 to 1984. Despite not possessing a formal education, she became Nigeria’s most prominent potter and received a decoration and an MBE in 1963.

READ: FLASHBACK: ‘Ina Sardauna?’ — How Ahmadu Bello was Assassinated 6 Years after Independence

According to history, she was taught pottery as a child by her aunt using the traditional method of coiling. She created large pots for use as water jars, cooking pots, bowls, and flasks from coils of clay, beaten from the inside with a flat wooden paddle. 

They were adorned with incised geometric and stylized figurative patterns, including scorpions, lizards, crocodiles, chameleons, snakes, birds, and fish.

Her works were remarked for their beauty and she was recognized regionally as a gifted and outstanding potter. Many of her works were obtained by the then Emir of Abuja, Alhaji Suleiman Barau in 1950.

- Advertisements -
NNPC Mega Filling Station

Kwali’s pots were featured in international exhibitions of Abuja pottery in 1958, 1959, and 1962, organized by Cardew.

READ: FLASHBACK: Bauchi Could Have Been a Boko Haram Stronghold, Thanks to Yuguda 

In 1961, Kwali exhibited her works at the Royal College, Farnham, and Wenford Bridge in Great Britain.

She also presented in France and Germany over this period. In 1972, she toured America with Cardew. Her work was shown to great acclaim in London at the Berkeley Galleries. In the early 1980s, the Abuja Pottery was renamed ‘Ladi Kwali Pottery.’


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest stories

Most Read

Signup To WikkiTimes Newsletter