Coming Up For Air, 2001

Lawson Oyekan (b.1961) is a British Nigerian contemporary ceramic sculptor. A recurrent theme is the physical drama of nature’s complexity and his monumental ceramic installations are usually the result of an encounter with a particular place. Oyekan’s imposing compositions celebrate the power of nature to inspire contemplation, renewal and transformation, whilst also reflecting his concerns about its destruction as a result of human foibles.

The development of Lawson’s work comes from his training in porcelain wheel throwing and has developed his own techniques through hand building making larger, monolithic forms. His work is characterised by surfaces often left dry and unglazed, the larger, thin-walled vessels appear robust but fragile and are covered in almost scar-like marks that resemble ancient spiritual vessels. Oyekan’s pots are often pierced using different marks, organic in nature rather than tortured and part of an ongoing internal and external dialogue, often in English or his native language, Yoruba.

There is a robust tenderness, a tension, between the delicate manipulation of the materials and the structure of the vessels. They speak of human struggle and a spiritual strength through the solid corporeal structures.

Lawson Oyekan (b.1961) was born in London but grew up in Nigeria until he returned to England to study at Central St Martin’s and The Royal College of Art. Oyekan has exhibited nationally and internationally, winning the grand prize at the First World Ceramic Biennale in South Korea. He has participated in residencies at the Northern Clay Centre, Minneapolis, USA, The Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust, Dorset, UK, Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore.