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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Maryam Maigida: The fearless Muslim artist breaking taboos in Northern Nigeria

Breaking barriers with her art, Maryam challenges societal norms as a Muslim artist, advocating for empowerment and cultural preservation.

In a society where certain professions are considered taboo for women, Maryam Maigida, a 29-year-old visual artist and freelance painter, defies conventions and blazes a trail of creativity. Hailing from Yobe State, Nigeria, Maryam has not only challenged societal norms but has also become a beacon of empowerment and enlightenment through her captivating artworks. 

Discovering the Passion

From a young age, Maryam’s talent for art was evident. She found solace and joy in expressing herself through drawing, and her passion for the arts only grew with time. Driven by her natural abilities and an unwavering determination, Maryam pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts from Ahmadu Bello University. Her artistic journey began to take shape, and she discovered her unique style, ranging from mixed media to near naturalism and abstracts.

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Support and Resilience

Maryam’s chosen career path faced numerous prejudices and stereotypes, especially in Northern Nigeria, where women are often excluded from certain professions. However, Maryam’s parents stood as unwavering pillars of support. Despite criticism from others, they encouraged her wholeheartedly, providing her with the necessary art supplies and instilling in her the belief that she would excel as an artist. Their support and resilience bolstered Maryam’s determination to pursue her dreams, regardless of societal expectations.


Maryam’s talent and dedication have earned her numerous opportunities to showcase her artwork on a global stage. Her participation in exhibitions such as Apex Art in New York, the Obsidian Group Exhibition Black History in London, and World Art Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has garnered attention and acclaim. Through her paintings, Maryam explores a range of subjects, with a particular focus on women’s empowerment, enlightenment, and the fight against child abuse. She utilizes culturally inclined fabrics, motifs, and materials to preserve her heritage and advocate for social causes.

Evolution of Artistic Expression

Visiting Maryam’s Instagram page reveals a diverse array of paintings. As a multi-disciplinary artist, she constantly explores different styles and media to best convey her artistic vision. While some of her works address serious societal issues, she also creates commissioned pieces that serve as aesthetic enhancements for various spaces, including living rooms, hotels, schools, offices, and hospitals. This versatility showcases Maryam’s adaptability and her ability to cater to a wide range of artistic preferences.

Clientele and Pricing

Maryam’s clientele comprises individuals who appreciate the beauty and aesthetics of art in their surroundings. From newlywed couples seeking meaningful artwork to hotel owners and art enthusiasts, her work captivates a diverse audience. The average price of Maryam’s paintings ranges from 250,000 naira and above, reflecting the value placed on her talent, dedication, and the uniqueness of her artistic expressions.

Goals as a Muslim Woman and Northerner

As a proud Muslim woman from Northern Nigeria, Maryam Maigida aspires to inspire other Muslims to embrace and pursue art. She aims to showcase that art can be a halal source of income, breaking misconceptions surrounding figurative art and highlighting the diverse artistic avenues available to Muslim artists. Maryam’s interactions with individuals from different backgrounds also enable her to promote a positive image of Islam, emphasizing the importance of good manners, sincerity, and respect.

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Maryam Maigida’s journey as a visual artist and freelance painter is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and breaking barriers. Through her extraordinary talent and unwavering dedication, she has defied societal norms and blazed a trail for aspiring artists, particularly women in Northern Nigeria. Maryam’s commitment to preserving her culture, advocating for social causes, and inspiring others showcases the transformative power of art. As she continues to create and exhibit her artwork, she leaves an indelible mark on the art world and society as a whole.