The Woman with the Artistic Brush: A Life History of Yoruba Batik Artist Nikoe Davies

By Kim Marie Vaz | Go to book overview

1 "Come and Buy Leaves!"

My mother, Mary Jogolộ, was a strong and hard-working woman. She was a weaver, with her mother, and made gari, a favorite food in Nigeria. 1 She embroidered pillowcases and tablecloths. She always said, "I want you to have good clothes. I want to work hard even if I don't have more than two of you. I want to make sure that you are well cared for."

The day she died, she just lay down, saying she had a headache. During the night family and neighbors called me and said, "Come and took at your mother." I looked and was surprised. I didn't know someone could just die like that. It was very painful. I didn't know what to do. I just cried. When the mourners came to the house they all cried. That is our people's custom; they just keep you crying for a good five days.

When my mother died I didn't know what killed her. She just went to sleep and never woke up again. In my village there was no hospital. The villagers believed that an enemy killed my mother. In my society, when we did not know what caused a person's death we suspected that the person had an enemy. We believed this because there was no good medical care. But as I grew up I learned that enemies couldn't kill a person unless they poisoned you or used something to spoil your blood.

I went to stay with my grandmother, who was called Ỏranuiyawo. She was the second to the last wife of her husband. She was hardworking too. During my year with her, she always petted me and made

-3-

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The Woman with the Artistic Brush: A Life History of Yoruba Batik Artist Nikoe Davies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Note on Orthography xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • 1 - Come and Buy Leaves!"" 3
  • 2 - No Man Will Pay Bride-Price for Me 16
  • 3 - I Went to Learn About Life 27
  • 5 - Iya (mama) Labayọ 49
  • 6 - Co-Wife: My Friend and My Enemy 55
  • 7 - I Will Not Mention My Enemy's Name 65
  • 8 - Strong Women 76
  • 9 - The Woman with the Artistic Brush 81
  • Appendix Muniratu Temilade Bello 89
  • Notes 105
  • Glossary 123
  • Index 131
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