Central Africa

ANA Highlights Female Sculptors in Africa

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Sculpting is a powerful medium for capturing the essence of an artist’s experience and their connection with the world around them. A sculptor’s process of creation involves bending and altering objects till it takes a new form. Sculptors are creating varied intricate and wonderful designs from found and made materials. 

Here are the top African sculptors on our radar:

Stephané E. Conradie

Stephané Conradie 

Born in 1990 in Namibia, Stephané Conradie creates ornate sculptures of entangled objects from the interior design of South African working-class and middle-class homes. She is fascinated with how people categorise and arrange objects in their homes, with a focus on her own family members in both Namibia and South Africa. 

Her work examines the histories of colonialism and creolisation that are embedded in domestic material culture.  Creolization draws the viewer’s attention to the cultural phenomena that come about as a result of the effects of migration and the continual, dynamic exchange of symbols and practices, which ultimately results in new forms with varied degrees of stability.

She is currently a PhD candidate in Visual Arts at the University of Stellenbosch, where she completed her MA in Visual Arts (Art Education) and her BA in Visual Arts (Fine Arts). 

Stephané Edith Conradie, Vanitas II, 2021, Mixed media relief assemblage with enamel and epoxi resin, 40 × 35 × 34 cm
Image courtesy of Artsy

You can follow the artist and her work here

Sokari Douglas Camp

Sokari Douglas Camp

Sokari Douglas Camp was born in Buguma, Rivers State, one of the major oil producing states in Nigeria. She lives and works in the United Kingdom. One of her most notable and public artwork is Battle Bus: Living Memorial for Ken Saro Wiwa which was created in 2006. Battle Bus is a full-scale replica of a Nigerian steel bus, which stands as a monument to Ken Saro Wiwa, the late Niger Delta activist and writer. Her works vary in size – from 30 cm to 5 meters and more- depending on the project. As someone who is interested in the environment, oil is a big component of Sokari’s work because of her ties to the Niger Delta. She enjoys the repetition of welding, cutting and bending metal into shape. She also makes use of sheet steel and recycled oil barrels in her works. Camp has represented Britain and Nigeria in National exhibitions and has been awarded a CBE in recognition of her services to the art scene. 

Sokari Douglas Camp, Battle Bus: Living Memorial for Ken Saro Wiwa, 2006, Stainless steel
Image courtesy of the artist

You can follow the artist and her work here

Nnenna Okore 

Nnenna Okore

Born in 1975, Nnenna Okore is widely known for her fibre sculptures with intricate textures that reference organic elements. Nnenna Okore, who was born in 1975, is renowned for her intricately textured fibre sculptures which are inspired by organic elements. She develops forms with textures and translucency that are similar to skin or landscapes. She continues to advance ecological consciousness in and through her work by examining themes of environmental decay, renewal, transience, and transformation. 

Okore is currently the Chair of the Fine Arts Department at North Park University in Chicago. Her work can be found in several notable collections, including the World Bank’s Art Collection, the Newark Museum, the Jean Paul Blachère Foundation, the Indianapolis Art Center, and the Royal Collections in Abu Dhabi.

Nnenna Okore, ‘Body Language’, 2015, Sculpture, Burlap, cheese cloth, dye and wire, Jenkins Johnson Gallery
Nnenna Okore, Body Language, 2015, Burlap, cheese cloth, dye and wire, 182.9 × 243.8 × 63.5 cm
Image courtesy of Artsy

You can follow the artist and her work here

Cow Mash

Cow Mash

Cow Mash was born Kgaogelo Mothepa Mashilo in 1994 in South Africa. The nickname “Cow Mash” comes from both a term of endearment and the subject of the exploration of her works. She lives and works in Pretoria, South Africa. Her practice and research focuses on cow metaphors, gender studies, and generational transformation. Her work explores black women’s experiences in the world. 

Cow Mash, Bagolo, 2021, Found objects and resin, 75 x 110 x 35cm
Image courtesy of 1-54

You can follow the artist and her work here

LR Vandy

LR Vandy

LR Vandy is a British sculptor of Nigerian/Irish descent. She is known for her sculptures made of model boat hulls. She turns the model boat hulls into animated “masks” using found items – fishing floats, porcupine quills, and acupuncture needles – from various sources. To explore feelings of attraction, repulsion, danger, and protection, she overcomes material distinctions and “speaks directly” to objects like fishing floats, porcupine quills, and acupuncture needles. 

Vandy’s work is in many private collections and has been acquired by the British Museum. 

LR Vandy, ‘Pomp & Circumstance’, 2019, Sculpture, Wood and metal, October Gallery
LR Vandy, Pomp & Circumstance, 2019, wood and metal, 180 × 60 × 35 cm
Image courtesy of Artsy

You can follow the artist and her work here

Author

Iyanuoluwa Adenle is a graduate of Linguistics and African Languages from Obafemi Awolowo University. She is a creative writer and art enthusiast with publications in several journals. She is a writer at Art News Africa.

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