About Sokari Douglas Camp
Sokari Douglas Camp has built an international reputation on her interpretation and celebration of African festival performance.
Sokari Douglas Camp was born and raised in the Kalabari town of Buguma in the Eastern Niger Delta, and has studied and exhibited in Europe and America. Masquerade is a strong theme in her work, in particular reinterpreting in metal and wood the male art of Kalabari masquerade.
Of particular concern to Sokari is the adoption and display of African masking traditions by museums of the West. Traditionally, these have collected and displayed West African masks as static sculptures, a world away from how they would have appeared originally in performance. Isolated from the movement and drumming, the costumes and exuberant temporary decorations, and the belief system which inspires them, the masks become very different objects.
Kalabari women are traditionally not allowed to make images, a restriction based on keeping women's fertility cycles strictly apart from the male process of creating art. As a sculptor in steel and wood, Sokari transgresses this restriction. As a sculptor who reveals the process of dressing and performing that transforms young men into deities, that transgression is profound.
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