Ero, from the “Solstice Lip Series, Minneapolis,” 2006. Stoneware, 20 elements, 34 x 9 in. each. Sarah Millfelt, Courtesy Northern Clay Center.

Evolutionary Imagination: A Conversation with Lawson Oyekan

Born in London in 1961, Lawson Oyekan grew up in his parents’ native Nigeria. In 1983, he returned to England to study at the Central School of Art and Design (1985–88) and the Royal College of Art (1988–90). Ten years later, he won the grand prize at the First World Ceramic Biennale in South Korea. A world traveler who has made and shown his work internationally, he spends his time between his home in London, a studio in Denmark, and a new facility in Nigeria. He recently completed a residency at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, and his current station is an Artistic Research Residency at Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust, Dorset, U.K., to be completed in 2007.

Whether in clay or in stone, Oyekan’s sculptures link past to present and pulse with an animistic energy. Rooted in physical experience, these bold creation stories celebrate natural phenomena—he once cited “fruitage, coloration, and dispersal of seeds as notable points of transformation”—and bemoan human foibles and destructive forces. Above all, they inspire contemplation and renewal.