Sokari Douglas Camp (Nigerian, active England, born 1958), Cheering Woman, 1986, welded steel. Gift of Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison, 96.112

Mia marks Women’s History Month with “Cheering Woman” in lobby

“Cheering Woman” (left) made by Sokari Douglas Camp (right). Portrait © Sal Idriss / National Portrait Gallery, London

Sokari Douglas Camp, born in Nigeria, moved to Great Britain as a child and trained as an artist in Oakland, California, and London. This dual identity, split between Africa and England, has informed her art. Often, she honors traditional African art forms, though in working with welded steel—a traditionally “male” medium—she is crossing gender boundaries just as she transcends geographic borders.

Douglas Camp made Cheering Woman, now on view in Mia’s lobby, in 1986, as part of a set depicting the masquerade performances of the Kalabari culture in Nigeria. The figures include the performers and the audience—in this case, the latter: a woman with a white bodice, head wrap, and voluminous wrapper representing the traditional Kalabari pelete bite cloth, urging on the masked dancers.