By Sokari Douglas Camp
The First Man is a bronze sculpture by artist Sokari Douglas Camp and is the first in a series of six figures to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
The First Man, which is backed by Southwark Council, will be erected outside the Mayoral office in Potters Fields, part of More London on the 24th August 2010.
All The World Is Now Richer, The First Man Poster
The bronze figure of The First Man is sited on a plinth of words; "From our Rich ancestral life." The powerful standing figure is clothed in a rich traditional West African cloth. The image of The First Man is at odds with the Wilberforce and Wedgewood view of the impoverished, enslaved black man needing to be liberated.
Another five works are being planned, with the idea that they might be considered for Burgess Park. They are; Plantation Worker, Caribbean Woman, Serra Leonean Woman, Business Man and Man in a T-shirt. The plinth words for these figures are:
We were sold bought and used
But we were brave
We were strong
All the world is now richer
Some of the principle themes of Sokari's recent work include the troubles in the Niger Delta, the Iraq war, her relationship with England and the country of her birth Nigeria. Sokari feels her main concern is to expose humanity’s vulnerability.
“My work as an artist, confirms my heritage and my life in London as a person of African decent.”
The First Man heralds the coming of the following five figures with their field of words commemorating Passage.
The First Man will be at Potters Fields for a Year.
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