02 May 2016

Sokari Douglas Camp at October Gallery

The show is called Primavera (till 14 May) and is based on the Botticelli painting also known as Allegory of Spring (1486) -
I was intrigued by the shadows, arbitrary as they are. "Complete" images, and good closeups, are here.

Three Graces, 2015, shows the differences involved in moving from 2D paint to 3D metalwork

Posing with a Gun, 2015

Prick Gun, 2016

Primavera herself - among the gaudy flowers are toy cars -
"the flowering tip of our modern technological civilisation"?

"Lovers Whispering" 2016
"As the goddess talks, her lips breathe Spring roses" wrote Ovid, telling the story of Zephyros and Chloris,
shown at the right of the Botticelli painting

"Europe supported by Africa and America", based on a 1796 print by William Blake

"Red Grace"
Douglas Camp works in welded steel, making lace-like structures with a plasma cutter, adding paint, gold and copper leaf, perspex. Her website is http://sokari.co.uk/; a short interview in her London studio is here.

The publication accompanying the exhibition talks about the fabrics she references in her sculptures.
In "Europe supported by Africa and America", she clothes Blake's naked figures in fabrics that denote the material styles of the different continents. "The subtle implication is that dressing both defines and displays culture. As Sonya Clark indicates, when it comes to African cloth, the material is the message. Botticelli was also aware f the critical importance of clothing. Best known for his newborn, naked Venus, few realise she is actually on the point of being coered with a sumptuous cloth to hide her nakedness. ...

"The importance of cloth fabrics in denoting status and wealth is common throughout West Africa, and Kalabari culture puts particular emphasis on its value as the significant vehicle of cultural transmission. Sokari's figures dressed in identifying clothing are less vulnerable to misinterpretation than their predecessors, and in her modernised version of the "exchange" that occurs between the three continents, subtle shifts have been introduced to imply that the imbalance and exploitation of former times is at last, finally beginning to be redressed."

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