Recycling

By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles

Sokari Douglas Camp

Masquerader with Feather Headdress

1987

Steel, copper, brass, wood, feathers

Collection of Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada, 994.075.001

Recycling is also one of the most prominent themes in the works of many of Africa's academically trained contemporary gallery artists. Both on the African continent and throughout the African diasporas in Europe and the Americas, artists creatively weave traditions of their places of origin with a contemporary viewpoint. It is not that such artists are performing a new kind of syncretism, for syncretism has always characterized the creative spirit of the continent. Rather, it is that definitions of the word “tradition” have been narrowly and even falsely delimited. This idea comes alive in the sculpture of London-based artist Sokari Douglas Camp, who combines her masterful manipulation of new, non-recycled steel with the theme of masquerade based on the Kalabari water-spirit masquerades of the Eastern Niger Delta whence the artist originates.