Kimathi Donkor shows at JoBurg Art Fair 2014 with Gallery Momo

August 19, 2014

Ed Cross Fine Art today announced that the British painter, Kimathi Donkor, will be exhibiting his work at this year’s JoBurg ArtFair with Gallery MOMO, who now represent the artist in South Africa.

Kimathi will be exhibiting three of his recent, large-scale oil paintings, including ‘Harriet Tubman en route to Canada’, which was completed in 2012. This ravishing piece of bravura painting, with its synthesis of romantic grandeur, painterly lyricism and postmodern acuity was first exhibited at the artist’s solo show for InIVA at Rivington Place in London. It was then that Donkor’s work began to achieve wider acclaim, attracting approving reviews in Frieze Magazine, ArtInfo, Studio International and Art Forum amongst others.

‘Harriet Tubman en route to Canada’ takes as its theme the daunting adventures of Harriet Tubman, the heroic African-American who, after escaping from bondage in Maryland, repeatedly returned to escort at least 70 people to freedom, often crossing the wintry wastes of the north as far as Canada. It was only there, under the protection of British anti-slavery laws that she and her companions could find asylum in the years prior to the American Civil War. Donkor’s captivating work brings into vision a terrifying moment, which Tubman recalled to her biographers, when the only way she could persuade one of her charges to continue on their arduous trek was by threatening his very life. The painting juxtaposes startling references to Caravaggio’s ‘The Martyrdom of St Matthew’ with ‘The Doubt: ‘Can these Dry Bones Live?” by the pre-Raphaelite Henry Bowler, Donkor not only demonstrates his deft familiarity with the history of European painting, but also brings to the fore questions about martyrdom, sacrifice and sainthood which still resonate in modern black America.

Ed Cross, the Director of ECFA, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that we now have an agreement with Gallery MOMO to show Kimathi’s astonishing paintings in South Africa. In recent years the work of this exciting African-British artist has been exhibited as far afield as Sãu Paulo in Brazil, where he took part in the 29th Biennial and Rome in Italy: but this is the first time he has had the opportunity to share his vision with a gallery audience on the continent of Africa itself.”

Kimathi Donkor, the artist said: “As a young art student at Goldsmiths in the 1980s, I was mentored by two amazing anti-apartheid South African exiles – the poet and sculptor, Pitika Ntuli, and the writer and curator, Sarat Maharaj – so, to now see my paintings go on display in JoBurg, and, especially, with the world renowned Gallery Momo, is the achievement of a lifelong ambition.”

Monna Mokenna, the Director of Gallery MOMO said: “We are thrilled to introduce the work of Kimathi Donkor to the JoBurg ArtFair audience. His paintings possess a unique blend of beauty, wit and integrity, which will add to our exceptionally strong display this year: with Mary Sibande, Blessing Ngobeni, Ransome Stanley, Joel Mpah Dooh and Ayana V Jackson all showing fantastic work!”\r\n\r\nA selection of Kimathi Donkor’s paintings are on display until April 2015 at the Usher Gallery in the northern English city of Lincoln, and his work features in two art history books published this year: ‘Black artists in British art: a history since the 1950s’ by Prof. Eddied Chambers (I.B. Tauris) and ‘The Haitian revolution in the literary imagination’ by Prof. Philip Kaisary (University of Virginia Press).

The JoBurg ArtFair will be held from 23-25 August, 2014 at the Sandton Convention Centre, 161 Maude St, Sandton 2196, Johannesburg South Africa

Gallery MOMO will be exhibiting at Booth 1. Opening times: Friday: 11am – 8pm; Saturday: 10am – 7pm; Sunday: 10am – 5pm.

For further information contact Ed Cross, Director of ECFA on +44 (0) 7507067567 or email or visit

Monna Mokoena, Director of GalleryMOMO on +27 11 327 3247 or email or visit

Image caption: Harriet Tubman en route to Canada | Oil on canvas | 210 x 165 cm | 2012