MEDIA RELEASE 15 September 2011

New Lawson Oyekan Sculpture Exhibition opens in Canary Wharf

Global Working by Lawson Oyekan
Lobby, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London
19 September – 11 November 2011

Lawson Oyekan’s new Global Working exhibition at Canary Wharf features ceramic sculptures created by the artist in communal studios around the world.

The sculptures share similarities, but are heavily influenced by the available materials and diverse environments in which they have been created, including the island of Fyn, Denmark and in Maryland and Minnesota in the United States.

Born in Britain and raised in Nigeria, Lawson Oyekan’s ancestors are the Yoruba people. His education at the Central School of Art and Design and at the Royal College of Art and his acknowledged international career have placed him at the forefront of contemporary practice. In 2001 he won the Grand Prix Award in the 1st World Ceramic Biennale, Icheon, Korea.

Ann Elliott, Art Curator for Canary Wharf Group says: “The sculptures, evoking figures and heads, are pieced together and often perforated giving the impression of openness that is partially veiled. Some sculptures carry messages, both inside the forms and on their surfaces.”

“Essentially this is a message about humanity and the belief that strengths communicated through art may heal the body, mind and spirit.”

This autumn marks ten years of exhibitions in Canary Wharf’s ‘Sculpture in the Workplace’ series. As well as the temporary exhibition, four ceramic pieces by Lawson Oyekan are permanently on display in the Lobby of One Canada Square.

The public are invited to hear the artist and curator in conversation at One Canada Square on Tuesday, 1 November at 1.15pm. Call 020 7418 2257 to reserve a place.

For further information, please contact:

Rosie Kempson/Caroline Parrish
The Communication Group
T: 020 7630 1411

Hamish McDougall
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2326
M: 07779 888 075


1) Images of the exhibition are available on request, together with an illustrated leaflet with an essay by curator Ann Elliott.

2) About the Artist

Lawson Oyekan was born of Nigerian parents in London in 1961, and was raised as a child in Nigeria. He is both Ibadan Yoruba, but also Yoruba Abi’lajo – one born in a different land. Although his cultural heritage includes ceramics made over thousands of years, he wears his ethnicity lightly. He returned to London in 1983, where he studied at the Central School of Art and Design (1985-88) and at the Royal College of Art (1988-90). His first exhibition was at the Cecilia Colman Gallery, London in 1990 and he has exhibited internationally since 1993. With opportunities to travel with his exhibitions came possibilities for making work in a number of centres for ceramics overseas, which has shaped his working pattern to the extent that he now has no permanent studio. Awards include the Darwin Scholarship Award, Royal College of Art 1989; the Fletcher Challenge Award of Merit, New Zealand, 1991; Membership of International de la Ceramique, Geneva, Switzerland, 2000 and the Grand Prix Award, 1st World Ceramic Biennale 2001, Icheon, Korea.

Oyekan’s work is in many public collections around the world, including the Centre for Creative Studies, Detroit; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Newark Museum, New Jersey; Shigaraki Museum of Art, Japan; the World Ceramic Exposition Foundation, National Museum, Icheon, Korea; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London as well as significant private and corporate collections, including Canary Wharf Group. When not travelling, Oyekan lives with his family in Somerset. In 2011 Lawson Oyekan spent part of the summer building a kiln in Graz, Austria.

3) About Canary Wharf Group’s Public Art Programme
Canary Wharf has one of the UK’s largest collections of public art and year-round exhibitions by leading artists, all free to view.

In 2002 Canary Wharf’s Art Programme won an Art and Work Award for an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Art in the Working Environment’. This achievement was followed last year when Canary Wharf Group won the Christie’s Award for Best Corporate Art Collection and Programme at the International Art and Work Awards, beating entries from around the world.

Canary Wharf’s permanent collection now numbers over 60 works of art, including stand-alone pieces and integrated artist-architectural works, all executed by some of the most inspired artists, designers and craftsmen of today. Among these are a lighting installation by Martin Richman, bespoke railings by Bruce McLean, floor and wall mosaics by Emma Biggs, sculptural works by Danny Lane and Wendy Ramshaw and photographic lightboxes by Catherine Yass. An illustrated Art Map is available showing the locations for the works of art found throughout the Estate.

Now in its tenth year, the ‘Sculpture in the Workplace’ exhibition programme in the Lobby of One Canada Square and Jubilee Park is curated for CWG by Ann Elliott. Past exhibitors include Peter Randall-Page, Phillip King, Keir Smith, Lynn Chadwick, Phyllida Barlow and Franz West.

4) About Canary Wharf Group plc (CWG)
Canary Wharf Group plc (CWG) has achieved one of the greatest feats of civic transformation – an iconic urban regeneration, designing and constructing over 15 million square feet of office and retail space across its 97 acre East London Estate.

There are more than 200 shops, bars and restaurants at Canary Wharf. Recent fashion openings include Tiffany & Co., Jaeger and Hackett. Seven new bars and restaurants have opened in the past 18 months to critical acclaim, creating over 400 jobs.

Canary Wharf’s world-class Arts & Events programme includes over 100 events each year.
20% of the Estate is landscaped parks, plazas and walkways with over 1,000 trees, 88 floral species and each year 70,000 seasonal plants are planted.

Canary Wharf also has one of Britain’s highest concentrations of ‘green’ roofs, reducing energy use and encouraging biodiversity. CWG has been named one of the Sunday Times Best Green Companies in Britain for the past three years.

95,000 people work at Canary Wharf, with the population projected to double by 2025.
Canary Wharf Group plc (CWG) is an integrated property development, investment and management group of companies.