Sokari Douglas Camp
Sculptor Sokari Douglas Camp CBE was born in Nigeria in 1958 and moved to England to study at the age of eight. She undertook training at the Californian College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, the Central School of Art and Design and Royal College of Art, London. Douglas Camp primarily works with steel.
Douglas Camp’s distinctive figurative sculptures evoke opulent characters steeped in history and heritage, while drawing on the nuances of her Kalabari culture. Her works reflect on themes ranging from slavery, the African diaspora and religion, to the proud display of wealth by successful Nigerians. Her use of steel, Perspex and found metals combined with typical Nigerian fashion and emblems of commercialism, such as Tesco bags, logos or oil barrels, create jarringly modern and globalist works rich with wit and the spectacle of contemporary life. She manipulates the materials to create static robotic works that simultaneously command their space while retaining human details - the jut of a lip or a heavy eyelid - that bring the metal to life.
Nigerian Woman Shopping (1990) defines a female figure through the void in the metal. A headless woman, suggested by her mass of hair and her patterned dress, is expressed by the negative space in the cut-out steel. Douglas Camp describes a figure that is coyly distinguishable through what is not shown. Footless shoes step confidently forward and arms cling to bags in an instantly recognisable manner, commanding the space in which the work is shown. Humorously, this figure is ready to stride through the Guildhall Gallery, determined to finish her shopping, bringing the bustle of a market to the polite silence of the gallery.
Douglas Camp has been exhibited in galleries in Austria, Cuba, Japan, South Africa and the United States, and elsewhere. Her sculptures are to be found in collections such as The Smithsonian, Washington, D.C, Setagaya Museum, Tokyo and London’s British Museum. All the World is now Richer (2012), a memorial commemorating the abolition of slavery, was exhibited at The House of Commons and St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Douglas Camp was shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth project, a sculptural showcase in Trafalgar Square. She has more recently shown work in Primavera, October Gallery, London (2016), and Art x Lagos, Nigeria (2016).
Sokari Douglas Camp (b. 1958)
Nigerian Woman Shopping, 1990
Douglas Camp constructs large-scale sculptures, primarily in steel. Her works refer to her Nigerian roots and international issues. One of the most prominent female sculptors working in Britain today, she has exhibited widely and was a short listed artist for the Fourth Plinth in 2003.
On loan from the artist