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Johanna Okon-Watkins


Habitat was inspired by the awe-inspiring atmosphere I experienced in ancient dovecots. The structure of these buildings with their gaping roof openings feels overpowering. Inside, one finds closely arranged deserted pigeonholes, evocative of other densely packed habitations, found both, in the natural and human world. By replacing pigeonholes with barnacles in a surrealist fashion, I hope to conjure up associations with other crowded communities.

340 x 250 x 250 cm

Plywood, hardboard, timber, vinyl, papier mâché

I delight in making sculptural work – frequently from clay, paper and textiles, or from discarded objects and materials found in nature.

My inspiration may be an object, a personal memory or a socio-political issue. Reoccurring themes include place, space, displacement, belonging and home, often in conjunction with concerns about loss of habitat and threats to the natural environment.

The process of working with my hands and materials is important to me. It is an immersive experience; tactile, emotional and involving decision making. In creating artworks, I establish a partnership between body, hand, mind and materials. I like my artworks to be experienced, touched, and to have multi-sensual appeal.