Sokari Douglas Camp creates mesmerizing figural works out of welded steel that seem to defy the constraints of their medium and exude a fluidity rarely seen in metal works of this nature. The discovery of oil in Buguma and the resulting exploitation of the Nigerian land and people is a theme that runs throughout much of the artist’s works. Integral to Douglas Camp’s practice is her fundamental belief that contemporary art is too often created based on intangible or imperceptible concepts. Sokari’s work attempts to exist in contrast to this, remaining grounded in tangible and of the moment themes. Her pieces celebrate her heritage whilst commenting on the ongoing hardships and brutal realities experienced by her fellow Nigerians.
Using a mixture of steel, found objects and colourful beading, Sokari Douglas Camp creates a powerful female figure, attempting to ward off any sort of encroachment. According to the artist, Waka Shege ‘is a Northern Nigerian curse word cursing your mother and your father and all that created you. Both these figures are charged with profanity and anger’. When speaking of the present work, Douglas Camp says: ‘it reminds me of Congolese effigy figurines, which symbolise the passing of one's suffering to statues as a way of healing one's ailments. Waka Shege wears beads that women wear to be alluring and hide their faces because they are spirits. The sculptures are a force to be reckoned with; they will keep bad spirits at bay. Waka Shege is about being menopausal and swearing for a year. My way of curing myself’ (Sokari Douglas Camp, 14 March 2017, Interview).
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