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Ladi Kwali and my exploration of Pottery in Gbagyi Culture

Pottery is a big part of Gbagyi culture. It is a tradition that is passed down to female children in the Gbagyi community. While in Abuja, I visited two pottery centers, one in Ushafa village and another in Bwari.

The Bwari Pottery Village was a bit easier to find than the Government-run pottery center in Ushafa. As we drove into the Bwari Pottery Village, I was looking at the compound in awe because it was obvious that some work had gone into making it look beautiful and serene. There were a lot of trees and plants on the vast land. There were also several beautiful huts in different styles.

Unfortunately, when I got inside, I was told that I couldn't make any videos of the pots being made. So I hoped that when I got to the Ushafa Pottery center, they would allow me to try it out. Since I was already at the Bwari Pottery center, I decided to take some pictures of the beauty pots and displays.

The next day, I visited the Ushafa Pottery Center. One of the first things I noticed was the sculpture of a Gbagyi woman making a pot that sat in the small roundabout in the compound. Ironically made in clay. I loved it! When I got in, I saw several smaller, more modern pots on display for sale. I also saw the modern equipment used for sculpting and some of the finished traditional pots.

When I finally inquired about seeing and recording the local women at work, I was told they had the same policy as Bwari. No one was allowed to do anything press related without submitting an official request in advance. Not sure why it applied to little old me with my iphone.

I really thought the highlight of my trip to Abuja would be trying my hands at the pottery with the local women so I was extremely disappointed. However, I still got some cool pictures and a potter in Ushafa was gracious enough to explain a little about how she makes the pots to me. Here is the video of her explaining below.

Also, did you know there is a Gbagyi potter at the back of the twenty Naira note? Her name is Ladi Kwali. She was a gifted potter who was internationally recognized for her beautiful pots, especially for their unique patterns and animal drawings. Today, her world is still sold around the world. You can read more about her on here



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a writer and illustrator from Lagos, Nigeria.


In 2015, I started a company called IheartLagos with the aim of showcasing Lagos culture in a unique and fun way.


That journey took me down an exciting path, discovering and learning so much about Nigeria.

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