At one point or the other, you’ve probably seen Ladi Kwali’s face on the 20 Naira note.
Ladi Kwali is one of Nigeria’s most famous artists and potters. She lived an accomplished life, and her legacy still lives on today. Here are 12 facts you probably did not know about her.
1. Hadiza Ladi Kwali was born in the village of Kwali in 1925, the Gwari region of Northern Nigeria
2. Her first name, ‘Ladi’ means born on a Sunday
3. She learnt the traditional art of pottery using a method referred to as ‘coiling and pinching’ from her maternal aunt
4. The Emir of Abuja, Alhaji Suleiman Barau loved her work so much that he bought many to display in his palace.
5. In 1950, Michael Cardew, an English Potter, saw Ladi’s work in the Emir’s palace and took it upon himself to train her further and publicise her beautiful work.
6. Her pottery was displayed during the Independence celebrations in 1960
7. She is the only Nigerian woman who is featured on a currency note
8. Even though she could not read or write, Ladi was awarded a Doctorate degree by Ahmadu Bello University in 1977
9. She was a member of the Most Excellent order of the British Empire (MBE)
10. Ladi was the recipient of a Silver award for excellence from the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C
11. A major road in Abuja is named after her
12. Ladi was also given the national honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 1981 and also the insignia of the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), the highest national honour for academic achievement.