Sokari Douglas Camp CBE
Sokari Douglas Camp was born in Buguma, an island town in the Rivers State, Nigeria. She studied Fine Art at the Central School of Art and Design and then the Royal College of Art. Sokari has represented Britain and Nigeria in national and international exhibitions and has had more than 40 solo shows worldwide. These shows were in venues such as the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, 1988-89 and the Museum of Mankind London, 1994-5. Her public artworks include Battle Bus: Living Memorial for Ken Saro‐Wiwa (2006), a full-scale replica of a Nigerian steel bus, which stands as a monument to the late Niger Delta activist and writer. Battle Bus travelled to Nigeria as part of Action Saro-Wiwa, a campaign to clean up the Niger Delta in summer 2015.
In 2003 Sokari was shortlisted for the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth. Her work is in permanent collections at The Smithsonian Museum, Washington D.C., Setagaya Museum, Tokyo and the British Museum, London. In 2005 she was awarded a CBE in recognition of her services to art. In the same year she became an Honorary Fellow of the University of the Arts London.
In 2012 All the World is Now Richer, a memorial to commemorate the abolition of slavery was exhibited in The House of Commons and then went on to Bristol Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral and St George’s Hall in Liverpool. The sculpture was exhibited in St Paul’s Cathedral London in 2014 and the Doge’s Prigioni Venice in 2016. The memorial is inspired by the words of liberated ex-slave William Prescott, who said: “They will remember that we were sold but they won’t remember that we were strong; they will remember that we were bought but not that we were brave.”
Sokari’s work is intended to act as a constructive and positive response to slavery, and to show how admirable all people are. The work invites viewers to salute the survivors who have contributed to the lives we lead today and it will be on display in Palazzo Pisani as part of the Diaspora Platform project during the Venice Biennale 2017.
This work of Sokari’s seems to have found its own path through touring and being displayed in rich environments and palaces, staging humanity that is so often forgotten.
Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Honorary Fellowship, SOAS Graduation 2017