Ekow Nimako Sends an Inspirational Message Through LEGO Bricks


The Williston community welcomed LEGO creator Ekow Nimako to campus this week where he shared his talent with students and faculty.
The Grum Project brought Toronto-based visual artist Ekow Nimako to the art classrooms this week, where he, with the help of students of all ages, built a futuristic Williston set in 3023. It was unveiled to students at assembly on Friday. He also revealed that he had stayed up till 4:00 a.m. the night before (Jan. 19) to finish the creation.
First beginning in 2016, Williston’s Grum Project sends many talented artists to the Williston community to share their talents thanks to a generous Alumna donor. Musicians, actors, dancers and many others, are given the chance to share their talent and skill with students of all ages as they stay on campus for some time.
Nimako was a creative child growing up but struggled to find representation of himself. He considers himself a multi-disciplinary artist who has a lot of different strong suits and passions within visual arts; he said he was an artist first and a LEGO creator second. One of his main initiatives is “Building Beyond,” where he encourages representation. He sat down with The Willistonian for an exclusive interview.
“’Building Beyond’ is about looking into the future, but making sure that future is inclusive,” he said. “I noticed that there was a real lack of sets or mini figures that catered to diverse communities.”
In 2020, Nimako worked with LEGO, and they created a campaign with him to headline Black History Month. He offers several courses and classes that give children the ability to create a sculptor or figure that represent themselves and their culture. He is doing something similar at Williston, and he enlisted around 50 students to fill out a survey about how they envisioned the school years in the future, so he could incorporate those ideas into his sculptor.
Head of the Arts Department and Grum Artist Coordinator, Natania Hume, appreciated Nimako’s way of thinking when she first saw his Instagram page.
“[Ms. Staples and I] both loved the way he uses the language of LEGO, which so many people can relate to, to describe new ways to envision our current and future worlds,” she said.
She knew he was the right person for Williston when she spoke to him.
“I thought he would be a good fit for Williston because when I talked to him on the phone, he was curious about our school and wanted to create a project which was specific to us with our student’s input,” she commented.
Nimako spoke about his creation processes and how to him, fluidity is key.
“The most important part of the process is letting go of a rigid blueprint,” he said. “I say often that the LEGO material informs the artist.”
His inspiration and motivation reached all grades, from 7th to 12th and sparked interest with faculty as well.
“I want to change the perception of LEGO elements as a contemporary art material,” he said. “I would really like to inspire other LEGO artists to go beyond to culture of LEGO and embrace their own ethnicity, embrace their own culture and use that to create artwork.”