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Sokari Douglas Camp

Date: born 1958, Nigeria
Sokari Douglas Camp was born in the Kalabari town of Buguma, southern Nigeria in 1958. Raised by her brother-in-law, the anthropologist Robert Horton, Douglas Camp studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California from 1979-1980. She then went on to receive her B.A. in sculpture from the Central School of Art and Design, London in 1983 and her M.A. in sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London in 1986.

Douglas Camp is a groundbreaking artist whose works combine motion with history, culture and contemporary global politics. Her work is predominantly sculpted in steel and draws inspiration from her Nigerian roots and international issues. Perhaps best known for her kinetic life-size welded steel sculptures of Kalabari masquerades, Sokari Douglas Camp’s sculptural practice defies gender and cultural stereotypes. As she says, “I think the only reason I am given is because of prejudice. Because of the subject matter of my work, people think I can speak for the whole of Africa. But I can’t. I can only speak for my own life. Yes, it seems Nigerian-biased work, but you can see echoes of it all around the area of South London…” (Hoggard 2006).

Douglas Camp has been awarded numerous honors. She received a Saatchi Award in 1982 and was the recipient of a Henry Moore Bursary in 1983. In 2003 she was selected as a finalist for London 4th Plinth. In 2005, Douglas Camp was honored as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her career in the arts and in 2006 she became an Honorary Fellow at the University of the Arts, London.

Douglas Camp’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group shows in Europe, the United States, Cameroon, Cuba, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Senegal and the United Arab Emirates. Major exhibitions include Dak’Art 2002, Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (2003), the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), Icons of Black Womanhood (2008), Environment and Object: Recent African Art (2010). Her work is held by the American Museum of Natural History, British Museum, Glenbow Museum in Canada, Leicestershire Museums, Minneapolis Museum of Fine Arts, Setagaya Art Museum, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Douglas Camp lives and works in London.
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