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Crafts: ‘Steel’ Amazing Hands of Sokari Douglas Camp


Usually, when we hear of sculpture, we think of men, more often than not. But this enormously talented Sokari Douglas Camp is a female sculptor whose major material is steel. Her large sculptures are grounded in Nigerian roots and also international subjects.

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Born in 1958 in Buguma, Nigeria, the principal settlement of the Kalabari in the eastern Niger Delta region, Sokari moved to England at an early age and studied at the Central School of Art and Design (BA, 1983) and the Royal College of Art (MA, 1986) in London, where she is currently based. She is one of the winners of the public memorial sculptures, most notably the “Living Memorial” for Ken Saro-Wiwa.

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Her works are exhibited nationally and internationally. She has collaborated with Ground Force to create an African Garden for the British Museum, which participated in Africa 05. The Smithsonian and the British Museum hold her work in their permanent collections and she has also worked with them. Europe, Britain and Japan are a few of the countries whose museums hold her work, not forgetting other private collections throughout the world. She has exhibited internationally in galleries, including in Austria, Britain, Cuba, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Sicily, South Africa, Spain, the USA. Among her notable solo shows are Spirits in Steel — The Art of the Kalabari Masquerade at the American Museum of Natural History, New York (1998–99); and Imagined Steel at The Lowry Arts Centre, Manchester, which toured to the Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno; Brewery Art Centre, Cirencester; and Derby Museum and Art Gallery (2002–03).


Her sculptures are a sight to behold and they usually trigger various interpretations, just like any work of art. They, some of which are kinetic, manifest parts of Kalabari culture, especially funerary ceremonies and the festival as a major cultural activity. Sokari’s works are made out of manufactured fabricated steel rather than handmade, which makes them ‘modernized’. Her works infuse creativity in age-long traditions through contemporary eyes.  Sokari has been featured in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe.

Her work features in the 2015 exhibition No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960–1990 at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

Sokari Douglas Camp is married to the architect Alan Camp and has lived in London for many years.

Her Instagram is @sokaridouglascamp and she is on Twitter at @S_DouglasCamp.

Check out some of her works here: 1) www.stuxgallery.com/artists/sokari-douglas-camp  2) www.artsy.net/artist/sokari-douglas-camp

Below are a few of her works:

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