Nike Art & Gallery, Abuja. Nigeria.
One Tuesday morning,I set out to visit the iconic Nike Arts and gallery located in Abuja, The federal Capital Territory of Nigeria.
Nike art gallery is an art gallery owned by Nike Davies-Okundaye. Although Nike has various galleries in different states . The one in Lagos is absolutely the most exquisite and top rated places to visit in Lagos on trip advisor and I had heard it was also free to visit.
Unfortunately,since I didn’t get the chance to visit the gallery while in Lagos
On getting to Abuja I decided it was a must . But it turned out to be an undated up one.
I had gone through an Abuja based blogger, who had visited the gallery, to have an idea of how the place looked like, what things to do and so on
According to her blogpost and from what I’ve learnt, it was entrance free . Although, if you would try out the garments woven or made ( Aso-oke) there, you might pay a fee (about 1000 Naira )which I was fine with ..
From pictures and reviews I also knew Abuja’s gallery wasn’t as well organized or artsy like those of Lagos , yet I decided to visit.
On getting there , we walked through the gates, we saw some people busy (I believe they were taking classes ) and a voice (hey come here rather in an unprofessional way speaking to us )
One of the students says go there pointing at the direction of the voice those are the people handling it .. I was like ok .. as I headed up to the place the sight of what looks like an uncatered dog almost scared the bar Jesus out of me …
then I heard, don’t worry it won’t do anything to you .. in my mind I’m like you don’t understand how dog phobic I am right?
I walked closer towards three or four men sitting causally, having a discussion as we approached we were asked what we came to do ..
we came for our viewing pleasure .. my sister is a blogger and we would love to blog about it (I think this is what made him feel he could exploit us) – my sister said.
The man asked, what about you, speaking to my sister, she said I’m just a tourist
The man says okay.. for a start pay 2000 naira and we will show you the place
Rather shocked i asked. do you have a book or a paper with the tour prices you have here ?
no .. it’s from our head .He answered.
I told him how I read other people blogpost and there was nothing like payment he says whose blog did you read ? Trying to defend himself …
He then tells us in pidgin English ‘for bloggers, you see all those people wey dey carry camera na 10,000- 15,000 Naira, we Dey collect just say you Dey use your phone camera that’s why I reduce price sef ..
The only payment the blogger made was from the dress (also-oke ) and she paid 1000 naira . I responded.
He proceeded to say – okay pay 1000# we go show you and we will take you in( at this point I was irritated and done with whatsoever tour )
Then I asked do you have a website he says yes .. I checked no pricing he then says you know you wouldn’t see that information there ( a proper website should)
When he sees we knew the game more . One of them stood up and says shebi you want to just view the place we said yh(at this point we were no longer interested) but since we already came this far we didn’t want to go back ..
He then says no pictures you cannot make any video inside .. no videos no pictures ,,, you can take pictures of every other thing outside here.. only take pictures outside ..
at this point I was dinterested I go in , perused and about 5min was done .. no tour guide (only these ones are for sale this that) … we left I was able to capture photos outside of the place and made a video on my channel you can check ..
I respect mama Nike work and what’s she done .. been a voice to the voiceless and raising many you can read here
However she might not be aware that maybe the people she puts in charge are not taking well care of this place. Tourism in Nigeria is backwards and somewhat dead but we need to find ways to bring it alive as this could do a lot good for Nigeria( revenue etc)
The place feels deserted and not well taken care of (more acre)
It doesn’t look touristy
There should be more trained workers on ground and well documented (structure is missing here)
Men exploiting people.. no structure.. no professionalism .
However that didn’t stop me from continuing my day
I went back to shop rite to have lunch and relax which was a stone throw from
here .. that covered up for whatever happened ..
Please can we fix this ?
Nike Arts and gallery Abuja has more potentials and at the moment it’s undervalued for its worth
And that is my experience
Have you ever been there …. what was your experience like share below
I would still love to visit Lagos own …. I believe the reception quite different .