Kimathi Donkor

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Kimathi Donkor (born in 1965) is a contemporary British artist whose large-scale figurative paintings are "genuine cornucopias of interwoven reference: to Western art, social and political events, and to the artist's own biography".[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Donkor was born in Bournemouth, England in 1965.[2] He received his BA in fine art from Goldsmiths College, London and a master's degree in fine art at Camberwell College of Arts.[3]

Career and works[edit]

Donkor’s history paintings "fearlessly tackle key, dramatic, monumental moments of African diaspora history ... with a painterly preciseness that borders on aesthetic frugality", according to art historian Eddie Chambers.[4] In 2005, Time Out reported that officers from London’s Metropolitan Police had entered the Bettie Morton Gallery to demand the removal of one the artist’s paintings, Helping With Enquiries (1984), from his solo exhibition Fall/Uprising (which addressed policing controversies). Gallery staff refused to comply and police later issued a statement that "no further action" would be taken against the painter.[5]

The ‘Queens of the Undead’ paintings depict historic female commanders from Africa[6] and the African Diaspora,[7] but with contemporary Londoners as models.[8] Prior to featuring in Donkor’s 2012 solo show at London’s Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), some works from the series were exhibited at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in São Paulo, Brazil for the 29th São Paulo Biennial in 2010.[9] In 2011, Donkor received the Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship for the British School at Rome.

Caroline Menezes has suggested that Donkor’s work, “articulates a hidden history, tales of the past and chronicles of suppressed voices”,[10] with figures such as Nanny of the Maroons, Nzinga Mbande, Stephen Lawrence, Joy Gardner, Toussaint L'Ouverture[11] and Jean Charles de Menezes among the subjects addressed.[12] Writing about his 2013 London solo show, ‘Daddy, I want to be a black artist’, Yvette Greslé, proposed Donkor as “one of the most significant figurative painters, of his generation, working in the United Kingdom today”[13]

Curating and Art Education[edit]

In 2008, Donkor was commissioned to curate the touring group show 'Hawkins & Co'at Liverpool's Contemporary Urban Centre,[14] featuring 70 works by 15 artists, including Raimi Gbadamosi, Keith Piper, George 'Fowokan' Kelly and Chinwe Chukwuogo Roy MBE. The show, which toured to Liverpool from London, marked the bicentenary of Parliament's Act to Abolition the Slave Trade.[15] In 2009, Donkor embarked on a three-year project at Tate Britain, Seeing Through, which engaged a group of young people from London foster homes in producing and exhibiting art at the museum.[16]

Selected Solo Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2013 Daddy, I want to be a black artist, Peckham Space, London
  • 2012 Queens of the Undead, InIVA, London
  • 2008 Hawkins & Co, Market Theatre Gallery, Armagh, N Ireland
  • 2005 Fall/Uprising, Bettie Morton Gallery, London
  • 2005 Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804, Art Exchange Gallery (touring), Nottingham
  • 2004 Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804, Bettie Morton Gallery, London

Selected Group Exhibitions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Coline Milliard (2012): Kimathi Donkor - Queens of the Undead’, Blouinartinfo [1]
  2. ^ 29th Bienal de São Paulo catalogue : there is always a cup of sea to sail in by Agnaldo Farias; Moacir dos Anjos; Adrian Piper; et al ISBN 9788585298333 ISBN 8585298332 [2]
  3. ^ Yvette Greslé (2013): Kimathi Donkor ‘Daddy, I want to be a black artist’ FAD [3]
  4. ^ Eddie Chambers (2013): Reading the Riot Act, Visual Culture in Britain, DOI:10.1080/14714787.2013.782156. [4]
  5. ^ Rebecca Taylor (2005): Brixton Gallery raided by Met, Time Out, November 9–16, 2005, p. 16.
  6. ^ Lara Pawson (2012): Kimathi Donkor - Iniva, London, Frieze Magazine [5]
  7. ^ Lara Pawson (2012): The black ghosts haunting Downton Abbey, The Guardian [6]
  8. ^ Hazelann Williams (2012): Resurrecting The Past, The Voice
  9. ^ 29th Bienal de São Paulo catalogue : there is always a cup of sea to sail in by Agnaldo Farias; Moacir dos Anjos; Adrian Piper; et al ISBN 9788585298333 ISBN 8585298332 [7]
  10. ^ Caroline Menezes (2012): ‘Retelling history through art’, Studio International [8]
  11. ^ Derek Turner (2013): Modernity in a medieval city Quarterly Review
  12. ^ Annie Rideout (2012): Queens of the Undead – Black history brought up to date Hackney Citizen [9]
  13. ^ Yvette Greslé (2013): Kimathi Donkor - ‘Daddy, I want to be a black artist’ FAD [10]
  14. ^ Sandra Gibson (2008): Nerve catalystmedia.org.uk
  15. ^ untoldlondon.org.uk
  16. ^ Tate Britain (2009) 'Seeing Through'

External links[edit]