Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ibiye and Sokari Douglas Camp

Last week Alexandra Galleries completed the framing of eleven paintings by 19 year old London artist Ibiye Camp, daughter of one of the leading female sculptors of African origin, Sokari Douglas Camp, CBE.

Ibiye, currently studying BA Fine Art at Byam Shaw, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, was preparing for her first major show at Artco Gallery in Herzogenrath Germany where she will display a collection of her portrait paintings.

The exhibition opens on Friday 11 March and Ibiye, whose bubbly character instantly comes across in her work, is both excited and nervous at the prospect of her first major exhibition.

The planning and organising has had to fit in with preparations for her college end of term show, her lectures and of course a busy social life. But she need not worry as not only is her work refreshingly youthful and showing signs of promise, but she comes from a formidable stable of artists. As well as an accomplished sculptor for a mother she can also boast a successful architect father and an older sister who is a photographer.

Ibiye works with oil and acrylic paint both on board and on canvas. Her portraits are varied but predominantly based upon London life, its cosmopolitan atmosphere, style and vibrant youth culture. Growing up in Walworth, near Elephant & Castle SE17, has clearly had an influence on this young, and very ambitious artist. Her portraits focus on the energetic, diverse and confident nature of those people closest to her rather than convey the negative side of youth culture often associated with that busy part of London.

Ibiye sites Chris Ofili, Paul Gaugin, Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach among the many that have influenced her work.

When I visited the stunning family home, designed and built by father Alan Camp, to deliver the framed portraits I caught up with Douglas Camp in her studio/gallery and enquired as to what she was working on. As well as preparing for a solo exhibition in October 2011, also at Artco Gallery, she told me that she had not too long returned from the Bahamas where she had been invited to submit a proposal for a public art commission.

Her long time friend the photographer, writer, curator and lecturer David A Bailey, MBE who has well established links with the Bahamian art community, was the instigator. It was Bailey who curated the Remember Saro-Wiwa Living memorial, designed and built by Douglas Camp, to keep alive the issues that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta fought and died for.

Discussions between Douglas Camp and officials in the Bahamas are well on the way. Meanwhile the artist considers the prospect of having to spend some 3 - 4 months away from her family, on a tropical island in the sunny Caribbean. How daunting!

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