Founder of Nike Art Gallery, Nike Davies-Okundaye

Nike Okundaye unveiled as Busan Expo Goodwill Ambassador

The Republic of Korea, through its embassy in Nigeria, on Wednesday 10 August 2022, unveiled the renowned Nigerian artist and curator, Nike Okundaye, as its Goodwill Ambassador.

The unveiling is part of the country’s efforts at securing the hosting right for the 2030 Busan World Expo scheduled for 1 May to 31 October 2030.

The Korean ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young-chae, and his wife, Kim Hyun-Joo, attended the event, which was held at Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Lagos.

With the ceremony, the multi-talented artist and passionate promoter of African arts is expected to leverage the support of Nigeria in promoting the Republic of Korea and the candidacy of Busan in Nigeria and the entire West Africa region.

The voting for the 2030 World Expo site selection is scheduled for November 2023.

Speaking at the event, the Republic of Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young-chae described Nike as diligent with excellent team spirit.

He disclosed that the Republic of Korea, in 2021, submitted a letter of candidature to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to organise World Expo 2030 in the city of Busan, saying that the Republic of Korea candidature is based on the theme: “Transforming our World, Navigating Toward a better Future”.

Busan, with a population of about 3.5 million and average of 40 million tourists visiting annually, successfully hosted many events such as the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), Busan Fireworks Festival, One Asia Festival and a global K-Culture Pop Music Festival.

The municipality has also played host to memorable conferences like the 2011 Busan World Development Institute General Assembly, 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, 2014 &2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, 2015 IDB Annual Meeting and the 2022 International Forwarders Associations (FIATA) World Congress.

Young-chae traced the correlations in the history of Korea, Nigeria and the life of Nike herself. Korea, he said, was poorer than Nigeria in the 1960s from where the country rose to become an emerging soft power embedded in tech-culture.

Similarly, Nike rose from poverty and prejudice associated with the female child to become the face of Nigerian culture. Nike’s story, therefore, is like the Korea story.

“In Nike Art Gallery and Nike herself, we see the beauty of Nigeria,” said the ambassador. He thanked Nike for accepting the Korean offer.

While saying that Busan is well-developed, well-placed and well-experienced to be a perfect host, he said: “Nike has a wide network and connections all over the globe, so, she would use her network and influence to mobilise for Busan. The Korean Embassy and Nike Art will continue to collaborate.”


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