Google is celebrating the life of Nigerian educator, ceramicist, glassworker, and potter Ladi Kwali with a doodle on its search homepage.
Doodles are changes made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.
Kwali is credited with introducing the beauty of Nigerian art through intricately decorated earthenware designs to the the international community.
An exhibition of Ladi Kwali’s work at the Skoto Gallery in New York opened on March 16, 2017.
Ladi Dosei Kwali was born around 1925 to a family of potters in Kwali, Abuja, Nigeria. Her aunt taught her the coil and pinch methods of pottery during her childhood, which Kwali later refined into her own style as she fabricated everyday containers ornamented with animal iconography.
Local aristocrats soon showcased her masterful work as home decorations, and it was in a royal palace that Michael Cardew—the founder of Abuja’s first potter training facility—discovered her talent in 1950.
In 1954, Kwali joined the Abuja Pottery Center, where she made history as the first Nigerian woman to train in advanced pottery techniques.
She fused her traditional style with these innovative methods to craft a hybrid collection of pottery stylized with zoomorphic illustration. Kwali continued to break the mold into the 60s with exhibitions across Europe and the Americas, achieving international acclaim.
Later in her career, Kwali shared the secrets of her craft with the local community as a university lecturer. She received a doctorate from Ahmadu Bello University in 1977 and the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award in 1980, which is among the nation’s most distinguished academic awards, in honor of her contributions.
Kwali is remembered today with each exchange of Nigeria’s twenty Naira note, the first and only Nigerian currency to feature a woman.