As the world of African art continues to grow in popularity, the genre’s most famed artists continue to pave the way for an exciting new onslaught of talent. Sokari Douglas Camp is one such artist whose talents are acclaimed worldwide, forging an impact on the world’s view of contemporary African art. Collectors of fine African art, including Tunde Folawiyo, may continue to praise the creative works of Sokari Douglas Camp as some of the most significant in the rich history of the genre.
Born in the Kalabari town of Buguma in the Niger Delta, Camp was raised by her brother-in-law anthropologist Robin Horton. Studying art at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, Camp earned a BA degree from Central School of Art and Design in London in 1983 before ultimately acquiring an MA from Royal College of Art during 1986. Her years of advanced schooling and close ties to the continent of Africa would later contribute to her world-renowned popularity.
Predominately sculpted from materials like steel, Camp’s creative works take much inspiration from the cultures of Africa and her own rich Kalabari heritage. With works appearing in the permanent collections of both the British Museum and the Smithsonian, Camp’s widespread influence is internationally recognised. Her sculptures have appeared in many countries, including Cuba, France, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Austria and the USA. Spirits in Steel — The Art of the Kalabari Masquerade remains one of her most notable exhibits and is currently housed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. During 2005, as part of the Africa 05 Festival, Camp teamed with Ground Force to create art for Africa Garden at British Museum. With her global reach spanning thousands of miles, the impact Camp’s art has forged upon the masses has, for many, awakened a newfound fascination in the powerful portrayals of African art.
Throughout her successful career, Camp has received many honours and various commissions for her public memorial sculptures, such as the “Living Memorial” to writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. In 2005, she was honoured as Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a testament to the respect she has garnered for her works. As Camp’s moving works of art continue to inspire a new generation of revelers, those with an appreciation for African art, such as Tunde Folawiyo and countless others around the world, may forever honor her work for its everlasting influence on the genre as a whole.