Sokari Douglas Camp

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Sokari Douglas Camp

Born1958 (age 62–63)
Buguma, Nigeria
Alma materCentral School of Art and Design; Royal College of Art
Known forSteel sculpture
Spouse(s)Alan Camp

Sokari Douglas Camp CBE (born 1958 in Nigeria) is a London-based artist who has had exhibitions all over the world and was the recipient of a bursary from the Henry Moore Foundation. She was honoured as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2005 Birthday Honours list.[1]


Early years and education[edit]

Camp was born in Buguma, Nigeria, a Kalabari town in the Niger Delta. She was raised by her brother-in-law, the anthropologist Robin Horton. She studied art at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California (1979–80), earned her BA degree at the Central School of Art and Design (1980–83), London, and her MA from the Royal College of Art (1983–86).

She participated in the 1989 Pachipamwe II Workshop held at Cyrene Mission outside Bulawayo, Zimbabwe along with Joram Mariga, Bernard Matemera, Bill Ainslie, Voti Thebe, Adam Madebe and David Koloane.[2]

Work and career[edit]

Her work is predominantly sculpted in steel and takes inspiration from her Kalabari heritage, Nigerian cultures and her life in the UK.[3] She has worked with the Smithsonian and the British Museum and her work is in their permanent collections. Her sculptures are held in other museum collections in Europe, Britain and Japan and in 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 United States.

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). In 2005 she collaborated with Ground Force to create work for the Africa Garden at the British Museum, as part of the UK-wide Africa 05 Festival.

In 2003 her proposal NO-O-War No-O-War-R was shortlisted for Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth.[4][5] She was honoured with a CBE in 2005.[6] She has been awarded many commissions for public memorial sculptures, most notably Battle Bus: The Living Memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa. (2006)[7] In 2012, her sculpture memorial to commemorate slavery, All the World is Now Richer, was exhibited in The House of Commons.

Her piece Green Leaf Barrel (2014) was inspired by the fact that her home, Niger Delta, was struggling because of insignificant jobs and a significant amount of pollution.[8] The figure of the woman represents a woman god who is creating growth from an oil barrel split in two. While creating this piece she wanted to focus on the positive as she felt that the negatives are often so big that they take up more of our conversation. Her work featured in the 2015 exhibition No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960–1990 at the Guildhall Art Gallery.[9] In 2016 her work Primavera was shown at the October Gallery (7 April – 14 May 2016).[10]

Personal life[edit]

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


Solo exhibitions (pre-1996)[edit]

  • Sokari Douglas Camp: Alali, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (1985)[13]
  • Echoes of the Kalabari: sculpture by Sokari Douglas Camp, National Museum of African Art, (The Smithsonian Institution) Washington (1988)[13]
  • Sokari Douglas Camp: new work, Sue Williams Gallery, London (1991)[13]
  • Play and Display, Museum of Mankind, London (1995)[13]

Group exhibitions (pre-1996)[edit]

  • New Horizons, South Bank Centre, London (1985)[13]
  • Conceptual Clothing, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (1986)[13]
  • From Two Worlds, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1986)[13]
  • Influences, South London Art Gallery, London (1988)[13]
  • Time & Motion, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (1989)[13]
  • Art for Amnesty: A Contemporary Art Auction, Bonhams, London (1991)[13]


A 2006 photograph of Sokari Douglas Camp by Sal Idriss is part of the National Portrait Gallery collection.[14] A 2009 terracotta was exhibited at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2013[15] as part of the Sculpture Series Heads – Contributors to British Sculpture.[16]

Forty-one photographs taken by Phil Polglaze at the South London Art Gallery on 8 September 1988 during the private view of the exhibition Influences: The Art of Sokari Douglas Camp, Keith Piper, Lubaina Himid, Simone Alexander, Joseph Olubo, Brenda Agard. Several photographs are of the artists with his or her artwork, including Douglas Camp.[17]


  1. ^ Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, InIVA. Archived 27 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Elsbeth Court (January 1992). "Pachipamwe II: The Avant Garde in Africa?". African Arts. 25 (1): 38–49, 98. doi:10.2307/3337019. ISSN 0001-9933. JSTOR 3337019.
  3. ^ "Swearing, sculpting and evil spirits". BBC News. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Shortlist of international artists announced for Trafalgar Square's 4th Plinth" Archived 3 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine, 25 July 2003.
  5. ^ Chryselle Pathmanathan, "International shortlist competes for Trafalgar Square's vacant plinth", The Guardian, 25 July 2003.
  6. ^ Spring, Chris (2008). Angaza Afrika: African Art Now. London: Laurence King. pp. 98. ISBN 978-1-85669-5480.
  7. ^ "About Sokari". Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  8. ^ Sokari Douglas Camp, "Green Leaf Barrel", 16 March 2014.
  9. ^ Julia DeFabo, "Sokari Douglas Camp in 'No Colour Bar: Black British Art in Action 1960–1990' (10 July 2015 – 24 January 2016)" Archived 25 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine, AADAT Art, 2015.
  10. ^ "Sokari Douglas Camp: Primavera", October Gallery.
  11. ^ "Sokari Douglas Camp", Artists, October Gallery.
  12. ^ "Sokari Douglas Camp CBE", Honorary Fellows and Graduates, SOAS.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Keen, Melanie. (1996). Recordings : a select bibliography of contemporary African, Afro-Caribbean and Asian British art. Ward, Elizabeth., Chelsea College of Art and Design., Institute of International Visual Arts. London: Institute of International Visual Arts and Chelsea College of Art and Design. ISBN 1-899846-06-9. OCLC 36076932.
  14. ^ "Sokari Douglas Camp by Sal Idriss, National Portrait Gallery.
  15. ^ "Jon Edgar: Sculpture Series Heads", Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP).
  16. ^ Sculpture Series Heads – Terracotta Portraits of Contributors to British Sculpture (2013), Hall, P., M. Scott & H. Pheby, ISBN 978 0 9558675 1 4
  17. ^ Polglaze, Phil. "Influences - South London Gallery Archive". Retrieved 29 April 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Sokari Douglas Camp at Wikimedia Commons