Master Potter visits Dordt

IMG_7740“That mound is a divine gift from God,” Levi Yakuba, master potter and owner-operator of Dajo Pottery in Nigeria, told his audience on Wednesday night. “That mound,” a giant clay pile, is what Yakuba uses to create some of the most beautiful pottery in the world. And although it may seem inconsequential to the untrained eye, to Yakuba it is pots, jars, cups, glasses, and plates that have won international awards and been presented to multiple presidents.

Yakuba started out as a typical young boy in Nigeria – with a complete disinterest in pottery, a typically female occupation. But because of his father’s push towards the profession, Yakuba decided he would take up the craft. Since then, he has never looked back, working past the negative connotation and weird looks from his native countrymen.

Yakuba began his full-time pottery business shortly after his home nation of Nigeria banned the importation of ceramics. He felt that the ban was his chance to do what he enjoyed, and he quit lecturing to begin potting full time. This was not an easy endeavor, however, as Yakuba lacked the equipment needed to become a potter, mainly a kiln and an oven. But this did not stop Yakuba. He quickly remedied the problem by building his own, and since that humble beginning, Yakuba has expanded and become an internationally-known potter, spreading his work across Nigeria and beyond.

As stated before, Yakuba has had the honor of presenting his pottery to multiple Nigerian presidents. And he gives his creativity one-hundred percent of the credit, stating “creativity that is embedded within you is what endears you to kings and queens.” On top of these honors, his pottery has also won prestigious awards at the Ceramics Olympiad, including the Golden Award at its debut in 2007.

But in the end, Yakuba knows where the glory belongs. Beneath the master potter, the Member of the Order of the Niger (a prestigious honor), the National Productivity of Merit recipient, and member of the Fellow Society of Nigerian Artists, lays a man who readily gives the glory to his Lord, the true Master Potter.

Alex Updike, Staff Writer

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