MEET Ladi Kwali, the Woman on N20 Note whose Clay Pots travelled the World[PHOTOS]

The woman whose portrait we see depicted on Nigeria’s 20 Naira note is Ladi Kwali, born 1925. She was born in the hamlet of Kwali, in the Gwari region of Northern Nigeria, where women frequently worked as potters.

The iconic Nigerian ceramic artist began coiling, creating with the traditional African methods as a child. In 1954 she joined Michael Cardew’s Pottery Training Center in the village of Abjua as its only female potter. There she learned to throw on the wheel and use western high fire kilns.

Ladi became Nigeria’s best-known potter, toured the world giving demonstrations and she is now featured on the back of the 20 Naira bill. Her large vessels are highly sought after on major auction sales. The Abuja Pottery Training Center has since been renamed Dr. Ladi Kwali Pottery.

Some of her works.

She possessed such great a talent that almost everyone in America, Britain, and Europe knew about her creations. Her work was exhibited at the Berkeley Galleries in London in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Despite not having a formal education, she became Nigeria’s most well-known Potter and received a decoration and was knighted Member of the British Empire(MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1963.

And that was how Ladi who would later come to be known as a potter, ceramicist and educator, mastered the art of making 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 decorated with incised geometric and stylized figurative patterns, including scorpions, lizards, crocodiles, chameleons, snakes, birds, and fish.

She passed away in 1984, at the age of 59.

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