We regret to announce the death of the Chair of our Board of Trustees, Aino Ternstedt Oni-Okpaku, aged 82.
She was also the founder and Director of Lagos-based art and craft gallery, Quintessence. A traditional chief of Ogotun Ekiti, a title she received for selfless service during former Nigerian President, General Ibrahim Babangida’s Better Life for Rural Women programme, her legacy also hinges on her work at the Erubodo Foundation, a charity she established more than twenty years ago. Since then, it has awarded scholarships to over 400 vulnerable children with challenges, assisting them to receive vocational training and complete secondary and tertiary education. In addition, the Erubodo Foundation has been useful in providing the children with medical care including surgeries in Nigeria and abroad.
Oni-Okpaku studied textiles arts at the School of Arts and Crafts in Goteborg, Sweden and later established her studio in Stockholm. After nearly a decade, she travelled to the United States to study for a Master’s degree in fine arts at the California College of Arts and Crafts (1971).
In 1973, she moved to Nigeria with her late husband, Gabriel. The couple would in two years, set up Quintessence Limited. At first, suppliers of hi-fi systems, televisions and furniture, Quintessence evolved into a leading name in the Nigerian creative space— organising residencies and sponsoring exhibitions of local artists abroad. In Nigeria, Quintessence continued to host major shows for international and indigenous artists, as well as book readings and other related events— its success, at once a fitting tribute to Oni- Okpaku’s pioneering contributions to art and culture in Nigeria.
Chief Aino Oni- Okpaku will be greatly missed. May her gentle soul rest in peace.