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Kimathi Donkor  - Notebook IX, Notebook series

Notebook IX, Notebook series
2014
Watercolour, ink and pencil on aquarelle arches paper
31x23 cm
Enquire about this work
Kimathi Donkor is a British artist living and working in London whose large, figurative oil paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries across the UK and internationally.

Hailing from a family with roots in Ghana, Jamaica, England, Zambia and Poland, Donkor’s meticulously crafted compositions draw on antique traditions of portraiture and history painting. Yet the themes of his work address dramatic modern subjects – ranging from urban conflict in contemporary London to the adventures of Ghana’s anti-colonial heroine, Yaa Asantewaa. Sitters are often friends or family, which, he believes, imparts a degree of intimacy to the monumentality of his figures.

In 2012, Donkor was commissioned by Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) to produce new paintings for his acclaimed Queens of the Undead solo show at Rivington Place, London. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Derek Hill painting award for the British School at Rome, which included a three-month full-board residency and stipend in Italy, studying the work of the Baroque master, Caravaggio.

In 2010, the artist's paintings were exhibited at the 29th São Paulo Biennial in Brazil. His Caribbean Passion paintings are currently on long-term display at the Usher Gallery museum in Lincoln. From 2009 to 2011, Donkor collaborated with the artists Raksha Patel, Eleni Zagkali alongside a group of looked-after young Londoners to create artworks for the Seeing Through participatory project at Tate Britain.

Writing about the artist’s work has appeared in Frieze.com, Studio International, The Guardian and Visual Culture in Britain amongst many other journals.

Kimathi Donkor has been has been the recipient of two full-time painting bursaries from the Arts & Humanities Research Council. He gained his Master’s degree in Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts (2010) and his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College (1987). He is currently completing a doctorate in painting at Chelsea College of Art and Design.



SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

Peckham Space, Daddy, I want to be a black artist, London, 2013

Iniva, Queens of the Undead, London, 2012

Market Theatre Gallery, Hawkins & Co, Armagh, N Ireland, 2008

Bettie Morton Gallery,Fall/Uprising, London, 2005

Art Exchange Gallery, Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804, Nottingham, 2005

Bettie Morton Gallery, Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804, London, 2004




SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

The Usher Gallery What's Going On, Lincoln, 2013
Olympia Earls Court Art 13, London, 2013
Furtherfield Invisible Forces, London, 2012
198 Contemporary Arts & Learning Rendering The Real, London, 2012
British School at Rome Seven things to do in an emergency, Rome, 2011
St Martin in the Fields Precious little, London, 2011
Chelsea Triangle Space Multiple authors & previous owners, London, 2011
29th Bienal de São Paulo Ha sempre um copo de mar para um homem navegar, São Paulo, Brazil, 2010
Space Station Sixty Five be careful what you wish for, London, 2010
Conway Hall, Kréyol Day, London, 2009
Contemporary Urban Centre, Hawkins & Co, Liverpool, 2008
Elspeth Kyle Gallery, Hawkins & Co, London, 2007
Elspeth Kyle Gallery, Telltale, London, 2006
Stephen Lawrence Gallery, Orature, London, 2005
198 Gallery, Historicism, London, 2004
The Fridge Gallery, The Jamaican Influence, London, 2003
Simba Project, Charcoal & Chalk, London, 1991
St. Mary’s Centre, Charcoal & Chalk, London, 1989
Brixton Library, Creation for Liberation, London, 1987
People’s Gallery, Young Black & Here, London, 1986
Brixton Art Gallery, Monti Wa Marumo, London, 1986
Brixton Recreation Centre Creation for Liberation, London, 1985
Upper Street Gallery, Black Artists for Azania, London, 1985
Jubilee Gardens, Struggle and Success, London, 1985
Royal Festival Hall, Artists Against Apartheid, London, 1985





AWARDS, RESIDENCIES & COMMISSIONS
Peckham Space, Daddy I want to be a black artist, 2013
Arts and Humanies Research Council, Doctoral Scholarship Award, 2012-2014
Iniva, New paintings for Queens of the Undead, 2012
Derek Hill Foundation, British School at Rome Scholarship, 2011
Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, Johnny was borne aloft by Joy and Stephen, 2010
Cortijada Los Gázquez, Joya Residency Almeria, Spain, 2010
Arts and Humanies Research Council, Professional Masters Scheme Full Award, London, 2009-10




CURATING
Happening to Be, Lethaby Gallery CSM, London, 2012
Hawkins & Co, Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool, 2008 / Elspeth Kyle Gallery, London, 2007


LECTURES, SEMINARS & TEACHING

Visiting Lecturer, Chelsea College of Art & Design London, 2013
Visiting Lecturer, London Metropolitan University London, 2013
Visiting Lecturer, Chelsea College of Art & Design London, 2012
Guest tutor, University of East London London, 2012
Exhibition Walk, Nottingham Contemporary London, 2012
Visiting Lecturer, Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design London, 2012
Guest Tutor, CCW Graduate School London, 2012
Conference Panellist, Tate Britain London, 2012
Visiting Lecturer, London College of Fashion London, 2012
Visiting Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University Notts, 2011
Associate Lecturer, CCW University of the Arts London, 2011
Goldsmiths College, Southern African Seminar Series, London, 2010
Conway Hall, Kréyol Day, London, 2009
Tate Britain, Tate Forum, London, 2009
Private Tutor, London, 2009
National Maritime Museum, Roots of Resistance, London, 2007
Pump House Gallery, Artist's Talk London, 2007
National Maritime Museum, Voiceless Odysseys, London, 2007
Imperial War Museum, Escapism, London, 2007
Art teacher, Geoffrey Chaucer School, London, 92-93
African Art & Culture tutor, Greenwich Adult Education Institute, 90-91
RBTW Book Fair, Young Artists, London, 1986
Donkor is a master painter in a digital age, but his work is anything but anachronistic it is steeped in historical, contemporary and art history references that inform, entertain and challenge the viewer. His paintings are both beautiful works of art and complex political/historical conundrums, arising out of his own Afro/British heritage and at times challenging personal journey and his astute study of history and the history of art.

Donkor’s meticulously crafted compositions draw on antique traditions of portraiture and history painting. Yet the themes of his work address dramatic modern subjects – ranging from urban conflict in contemporary London to the adventures of Ghana’s anti-colonial heroine, Yaa Asantewaa. Sitters are often friends or family, which, he believes, imparts a degree of intimacy to the monumentality of his figures.