Lawson Oyekan British Nigerian Contemporary Ceramic Sculptor
Until Friday 11 November 2001, the lobby of One Canada Square in Canary Wharf London plays host to the ceramic creations of British / Nigerian contemporary ceramic sculptor Lawson Oyekan. Regular visitors to Canary Wharf may already be familiar with Lawson’s work, the artist has had four ceramic sculptures on permanent display as part of Canary Wharf’s permanent art collection for a while now, and this current exhibition sees some of his more recent works going on display alongside them in a showcase of the artist’s talent and evolving ideas. Lawson’s pieces are organic ranging from towering monolithic forms to beautifully etched bowl type shapes. I can’t help but thing of artistic treasures uncovered from an ancient archaeological site; they have that rare and precious quality about them that forces the viewer to stop and think about what is being said by the artist.
A world traveller Lawson is said to spend his time between London, Denmark and Nigeria; a factor which underpins his work. Entitled ‘Global Workings’ the exhibition opened on Monday, September 19 2011 and is a reflection of cultures the British / Nigerian contemporary ceramic sculptor has come into contact with and also sees him experimenting with the diverse nature of clays from other parts of the world and the effect they have on his work. Working in both stone and clay, many of his sculptures incorporate calligraphy; a reflection of his Yoruba origins blended with the contemporary global influences.
Seeing his work as a way of linking past to present another defining factor of Lawson’s work is that it centres on the ‘figure’; vessels holding mysteries, spirits and stories, with the smaller sculptures mounted on pedestals representing heads. A desire to work on a large scale has meant Lawson has not had a permanent studio in recent years instead moving around from place to place in search of inspiration. Born in London brought up in Nigeria, Lawson is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and has exhibited and held residences in the UK, Europe and the US. Lawson was awarded the Grand Prize at the World Ceramic Biennale in South Korea in 2001.