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Kimathi Donkor

Born, 1965 in Bournemouth, England

Kimathi Donkor’s work is characterised by the ways in which it confidently tackles key, dramatic, monumental moments of African diaspora history, but does so with a painterly preciseness that borders on aesthetic frugality. His subjects have ranged from the death of Mrs Cynthia Jarrett, and the response to it by sections of the community, through to the cataclysmic events that culminated in the liberation of Haiti at the beginning of the 19th century.

He was one of the artists included in Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton,  “a re-staging of a selection of works previously shown in the exhibition Diaspora Pavilion that took place in Venice during the the 57th Venice Biennale last year. The works shown here are by seven of the 19 artists who were part of the Venice show, all of who were selected due to the variety of ways that their practices engage with diaspora as a concept.

The Diaspora Pavilion grew out of a desire to provide a space for artists to pose counter-narratives that interrogate the notion of diaspora and a topical interest in the impact of increased global mobility, displacement and migration on culture. The idea of diaspora here functions as a tool with which to explore how artistic practice has been influenced by cross-cultural exchange.

…On the first floor of the Gallery five paintings by Kimathi Donkor have been inserted into the displays in the Victorian and Georgian galleries. These interventions address and disrupt different historical moments, invoking figures and myths across time periods, to generate new perspectives in painting.Curated by David A. Bailey and Jessica Taylor”

The above text is from the brochure accompanying the exhibition, which took place at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 10 February - 29 April 2018.

The brochure described Donkor’s practice as reimagining “mythic and legendary encounters acrosss Africa and its global diasporas, principally in painting, but also through drawing, video, assemblage, collage, digital media, performance and installation. Narrative paintings address historic figures like Harriet Tubman and Toussaint L’Ouverture, as well as themes such as urban unrest or the pursuit of leisure, beauty and knowledge. His solo exhibitions include Some Clarity of Vision at Gallery MOMO (Johannesburg, 2015), Queens of the Undead with Iniva at Rivington Place (London, 2012) and Fall/Uprising at the Bettie Morton Gallery (London, 2005). Group exhibitions include Untitled: Art on the Conditions of Our Time at the New Art Exchange (Nottingham, 2017) and the 29th São Paulo Biennial (Brazil, 2010).


Related items

click to show details of Caribbean Passion Haiti 1804

»  Caribbean Passion Haiti 1804

Invite relating to an exhibition, 2005

click to show details of Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton brochure

»  Diaspora Pavilion | Venice to Wolverhampton brochure

Brochure relating to an exhibition, 2018

click to show details of Kimathi Donkor: Queens of the Undead Preview card

»  Kimathi Donkor: Queens of the Undead Preview card

Invite relating to an exhibition, 2012

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Art Exchange Gallery / New Art Exchange

Nottingham, United Kingdom

»  Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Wolverhampton, United Kingdom