Beauty, Design trends

International Women’s Day.

A woman is born with expectations, A mother, A sister, A daughter, A cook, A wife, A therapist and the list goes on.

Her place in the world stretches beyond the reach of her home, She is the gift of her community, the beauty of her society and the heartbeat of her motherland.

Let us share the story of a woman who made magic out of all these expectations. Ladi Kwali.


Born in the village of Kwali in the Gwari region of Northern Nigeria (The Gbagyi tribe) in 1925, She started the craft of pottery making when she was only nine years old.

Thanks to her aunt who taught her this family craft Ladi Kwali’s pieces were soon sold in market places and in most times would be sold out even before they made it to the market place.

Ladi Kwali’s Brilliance can not be overemphasized as her approach to clay was echoed by mathematical undertones seen in her continuous display of symmetry.

ladi kwalimicheal

Michael Cardew who was appointed to the post of Pottery Officer in the Department of Commerce and Industry in the colonial Nigerian Government in 1951 saw Ladi Kwali’s works in the palace of Emir of Abuja, Alhaji Suleiman Barau and was astonished with the artistry and arranged to meet her.

Micheal Cardew went on to establish the Pottery Training Centre in the now Suleja area of the FCT and invited Ladi Kwali which earned her the first woman to be trained in wheel throwing, glazing, kiln firing, production of saggar and the use of slip.

ladi kwalioward

After Joining the center, Ladi Kwali paved a way for four other women from her tribe who were also trained. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Her works were exhibited at the Berkeley Galleries, She gave demonstrations at the Royal College, Farnham, and Wenford Bridge in Great Britain.

 She also gave demonstrations in France and Germany over this period. In October 1st 1960, her works were displayed to celebrate the Nigerian independence.

ladikwali british

in 1963, she received recognitions from Britain, (Member of the Order of the British Empire, MBE) she also got the Silver Award for Excellence at the 10th International Exhibition for Ceramic Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C in the same year.

Although, Kwali had no formal education, she was appointed a resource person of the Abuja Pottery Training Centre; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State; and demonstrated in different institutions abroad.

In 1977, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, honoured her with a doctorate degree. Other awards are: the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOM) in 1980, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 1981, the renaming of the Abuja Pottery Training Centre to Ladi Kwali Pottery Centre.

ladi kwali

Kwali is the first woman to appear on Nigerian currency. Major roads in Abuja (FCT), Niger State and even school halls and hostels have been named after her.

Ladi Kwali lived 59 years and made such remarkable impact within this time of her life.

gi banner 13new

Today at Girly essentials, We celebrate every woman in the world. We are reminding you just how bold and beautiful you are are and leaving you with the mandate to #choosetochallenge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *