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Kimathi Donkor’s art re-imagines mythic, historical and everyday encounters across Africa and its global Diasporas, principally in painting and drawing.

Prominent exhibitions include the
The Time is Always Now at the National Portrait Gallery (London, 2024), Soulscapes at the Dulwich Picture Gallery (London, 2024), the 15th Sharjah Biennial (UAE, 2023), War Inna Babylon at the ICA, (London 2021), the Diaspora Pavilion (57th Venice Biennale, 2017) and the 29th São Paulo Biennial (Brazil, 2010). Awards, residencies and commissions include the 2011 Derek Hill Painting Scholarship for The British School at Rome. Links to writing about Kimathi Donkor’s work, as well as interviews, can be found in the media section of this website.

Born in Bournemouth, England, Donkor is of Ghanaian, Anglo-Jewish and Jamaican family heritage, and as a child lived in rural Zambia and the English westcountry. He lives and works in London, where he is the Reader in Contemporary Painting and Black Art at the University of the Arts, London.

Art by Kimathi Donkor is held in public and private collections including at The British Museum, the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the International Slavery Museum, the collection of CCH Pounder, the University of Greenwich and the Sindika Dokolo Foundation. He is represented by Niru Ratnam Gallery in London.



SOLO EXHIBITIONS


(arrows link to exhibition sites)

2023, Helix / Idyl
↗︎
Niru Ratnam, London, England (20 April–20 May, 2023)

2023, On Episode Seven ↗︎
Holland Park Billboard, London, England (3 Jan–31 Dec, 2023)

2022, Play, Rest, Work
University College London Hospital, London, England (27 May–20 July, 2022)

2021, Notebooks ↗︎
Brixton Library, London, England (7 October–7 November, 2021)

2021, Idylls ↗︎
DKUK, London, England (27 September, 2021–9 January, 2022)

2015, Some Clarity of Vision ↗︎
Gallery MOMO, Johannesburg, South Africa (8 September–12 October, 2015)

2013, Daddy, I Want To Be A Black Artist ↗︎
Peckham Platform, London (24 September–24 November, 2013)

2012, Queens of The Undead ↗︎
Iniva: Rivington Place, London (12 September–24 November 2012)

2008, Hawkins & Co
Market Place Theatre Gallery, Armagh, N Ireland (9 May–7 June, 2008)

2005, Fall/Uprising ↗︎
Bettie Morton Gallery, London (4 November–3 December, 2005)

2005, Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804 ↗︎
Art Exchange Gallery, Nottingham (touring) (5 October–18 November, 2005)

2004, Caribbean Passion: Haiti 1804 ↗︎
Bettie Morton Gallery, London (4 November–28 November, 2004)

1990, Black History for Action
The Woolwich Simba Project, London

1989, Black History for Action
St Mary’s Centre, Lewisham, London



GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2024, The Time Is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure
National Portrait Gallery, London, England. 22 February–19 May, 2024
(curated by Ekow Eshun)

2024, Soulscapes
Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, England. 14 February–2 June, 2024
(curated by Lisa Anderson)

2023, Like Paradise
Claridges ArtSpace, London, England. 5 October–5 December, 2023
(curated by Ekow Eshun)

2023-24, Arcadia for All? Rethinking Landscape Painting Now (touring)
The Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester University, England. 15 September, 2023–28 January, 2024
(curated by Judith Tucker and Geraint Evans)

2023, Arcadia for All? Rethinking Landscape Painting Now
The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Leeds University, England. 26 April–29 July, 2023
(curated by Judith Tucker and Geraint Evans)

2023, Thinking Historically in the Present
15th Sharjah Biennale, UAE. 7 February–11 June, 2023
(conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor and curated by Hoor Al Qasimi)

2023, Independent Art Fair
Spring Studios, New York, USA.
(with Niru Ratnam Gallery)

2022-23, The New African Portraiture: Shariat Collections
The Kunsthalle Krems, Austria. 19 November, 2022–10 April, 2023
(curated by Ekow Eshun)

2022, The World Re-imagined
Hey Court Park, Knowlsely; Liverpool 1; Trafalgar Square and Greenwich University, England. 15 August–19 November 2022. Permanent installation at the University of Greenwich, Medway Campus from November, 2023.

2022, The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics
The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England. 21 May–29 August.
(selected by Michael Ohajuru)

2022, Yanga: Path to Freedom in the Americas
African American Museum Of Dallas, USA. 7 April–21 October. (curated by Jorge Baldor)

2021, The Discerning Eye
Mall Galleries, London, England. 11–21November.
(invited by Adelaide Damoah)

2021, Bold Black British
Christie’s, London, England. 1 October–21 October.
(curated by Aindrea Emelife)

2021-22, The Summer Exhibition
The Royal Academy, London, England. 22 September, 2021 – 3 January, 2022.
(curated by Bob & Roberta Smith)


2021, The Butterfly Effect
The MAC, Birmingham, England. 21 September – 21 November.

2021, Untitled: Art on the Conditions of Our Time
Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, England. 10th July – 3rd October.
(curated by Paul Goodwin with Guy Haywood)

2021, War Inna Babylon: The Community’s Struggle for Truth and Rights
ICA, London, England. 7 July – 27 September.
(curated by Stafford Scott, Kamara Scott and Rianna Jade Parker)

2020, Queen: From the Collection of CCH Pounder
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, MI, USA. 28 January – 2 August.

2019, London Art Fair
Business Design Centre, London, England
(with Ed Cross Fine Art)

2018, Diaspora Pavilion: Venice to Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, England
(curated by Jessica Taylor)

2018, A History of Drawing
Camberwell Space, London, England
(curated by Kelly Chorpening)

2017, Diaspora Pavilion, Venice Biennale
Palazzo Pisani S. Marina, Venice, Italy
(curated by David Bailey and Jessica Taylor)

2017-18, Ink And Blood
International Slavery Museum, Liverpool, England
(curated by Jean Francois Manicom)

2017, Selling The Shadow
C-Gallery, Milan, Italy
(curated by Ayana V. Jackson and Ingrid LaFleur)

2017, Sonic Soundings / Venice Trajectories
Geo-locational sound installation, Venice, Italy
(curated by Erika Tan)

2017, Untitled: Art on the Conditions of Our Time
New Art Exchange, Nottingham, England
(curated by Paul Goodwin and Loren Hansi Gordon)

2017, 154: Contemporary African Art
Pioneer Works, New York, USA
(with Ed Cross Fine Art)

2016, EXPO Projects
EXPO Chicago, Chicago Il, USA
(with Gallery MOMO)

2016, Black Art in Focus
The Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, England

2016, Peckham Platform Retrospective
Peckham Platform, London, England

2015, Defining the Narrative
Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, South Africa

2015, 154: Contemporary African Art
Somerset House, London, England
(with Ed Cross Fine Art)

2015, They Came from Outer Space
The Goethe Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa

2015, Deptford X—Deptford Conversation
Deptford X Gallery, London
(invited by Janette Parris)

2014, JoBurg Art Fair
Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
(with Gallery MOMO)

2013, Entre Trânsitos e Viagens
Carpinaria São Lazaro, Lisbon, Portugal
(invited by Xerem)

2013-2014, What’s Going On?
The Usher Gallery, Lincoln, UK
(curated by Raimi Gbadamosi)

2012, Invisible Forces
Furtherfield Gallery, London

2011, Seven things to do in an emergency
British School at Rome, Italy

2011, Precious Little
St Martin-in-the-Fields, London

2010, Ha sempre um copo de mar para um homem navegar
29th Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
(curated by Moacir dos Anjos and Agnaldo Farias, with Sarat Maharaj)

2008, Hawkins & Co
Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool
(touring—curated by Kimathi Donkor)

2007, Hawkins & Co
Elspeth Kyle Gallery, London
(curated by Kimathi Donkor)

2006, Telltale
Elspeth Kyle Gallery, London

2005, Orature
Stephen Lawrence Gallery, London
(curated by Sean Wallace)

2004, Historicism
198 Gallery, London
(curated by Olu Oke)

2003, The Jamaican Influence
The Fridge Gallery, London
(curated by Sireita Mullings)

1987, Creation for Liberation
Brixton Library, London

1986, Young, Black & Here
People's Gallery, London
(curated by Mark Sealy)

1986, Monti Wa Marumo
Brixton Art Gallery, London
(curated by Pitika Ntuli)

1985, Creation for Liberation
Brixton Recreation Centre, London

1985, Black Artists for Azania
Upper Street Gallery, London
(curated by Pitika Ntuli)

1985, Artists Against Apartheid
Royal Festival Hall, London
(invited by Chila Kumari Burman)



EDUCATION

PhD, Chelsea College of Arts, 2016.
MA Fine Art, Camberwell College of Arts, 2010.
PGCE Art & Design, Goldsmiths College, 1990.
BA (Hons) Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, 1987.
Foundation Diploma Fine Art, Bournemouth & Poole College of Art, 1984





AWARDS, COMMISSIONS AND RESIDENCIES



2022, T. Ras Makonnen.
Artwork commissioned by The Guardian newspaper for the 2023 Cotton Capital special edition.

2022, The World Reimagined.
Commission facilitated by a three-week studio residency, materials and honorarium with The World Reimagined.

2019, De’Longhi Art Projects Artist Award.
Annual jury cash prize selected at the London Art Fair.

2016-18, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Two-year fellowship with the TrAIN research Centre at Chelsea College of Arts, London.

2015, Artist in Residence
Two-month invitational studio residency, stipend and solo exhibition at Gallery Momo in Johannesburg, South Africa.

2015, Gate Curate Artist in Residence
Two-month invitational residency and exhibition at the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London. Supported by the Chelsea Arts Club Trust.

2013, Xerem/Triangle Network
Two-week invitational studio residency and honorarium with the International Artists’ Workshop in Lisbon, Portugal.

2013, AHRC Studentship
Two year doctoral academic fees and stipend.

2011, Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship Award
Three-month invitational studio residency with the British School at Rome in Rome, Italy.

2010, Joya Residency
Two-week studio residency at Cortijada Los Gázquez in Almeria, Spain.
2010, AHRC Studentship
One year masters academic fees and stipend.



COLLECTIONS

Works are held in public and private collections in the UK and internationally, including by The British Museum, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the International Slavery Museum, the Sharjah Art Foundation, Greenwich University, the Sindika Dokolo Foundation, the Shariat Collection, the collection of CCH Pounder and the African Arts Trust.



CURATING


2023, Young Masters Art Prize
The Exhibitionist Hotel, London. (10 October 2023 – 28 February 2024)
Invited by the Young Masters Art Prize to join a panel of judges to shortlist artists for inclusion in the exhibition, and to select prize winners and commended artists.


2012, Happening to Be
The Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. (10 September – 27 October, 2012)
Commissioned by Shades of Noir/UAL to curate a multi-disciplinary exhibition featuring works by Yinka Shonibare MBE, Trevor Robinson CBE, Ngozi Onwurah, Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE and Professor Ablade Glover OBE.


2007-2008, Hawkins & Co.
Elspeth Kyle Gallery, London, (8 – 30 March, 2007); The Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool, (7 March–5 May, 2008)
Commissioned by CUC to curate a touring group exhibition of contemporary art featuring work by Larry Achiampong (exhibiting as Kofi Achiampong), Faith Bebbington, Donna Berry, Jean-François Boclé, Marcia Brown, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy MBE, Paul Clarkson, Kimathi Donkor, Corrine Edwards, Joelle Ferly, Raimi Gbadamosi, Tam Joseph, George ‘Fowokan’ Kelly, Keith Piper, Barbara Walker, Pauline Wiggins, Jane Woolner.



EDUCATION PROJECTS & WORKSHOPS



2018, UK Diaspora
Museum workshop for the ‘Ink & Blood’ exhibition at the International Slavery Museum, Liverpool.

2013, Daddy, I Want to Be a Black Artist
Seminars and museum visits with the Leaders of Tomorrow black youth group based in Peckham, London.

2012, Memory Styx
Drawing master class for 16–24 year olds at InIVA, Rivington Place, London.

2009-2011, Seeing Through
Studio workshops and museum visits for 12 to 18-year-old looked after young people at Tate Britain.

2009-2010 Anti-bully
Photography workshops for 12–18-year-old looked after young people at Ealing Horizons, London.

2009, The Engine Room
Studio workshop and museum visits for staff and volunteers of Ealing Horizons.

2009, Be Inspired
Museum visit and workshop for 12-16 year olds with Lewisham Youth Offender Service, London.

2007-2009 Positive Reinforcement / Escapism / Who Me?
Classroom-based visiting artist projects with secondary and primary schools in London.

2007, Creative Roundtable
Museum education seminar at Kenwood House, London.



TEACHING


2012–present, University of the Arts, London. Currently Course Leader, BA Fine Art: Painting at Camberwell College of Arts.

Previously: Interim Programme Director of Painting at Camberwell College of Arts, Visiting Lecturer at Royal College of Art; Senior Lecturer and Acting MA Drawing Course Leader at Wimbledon College of Arts; Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins; Visiting Lecturer at Middlesex University, London; Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths College, London.



SELECTED TALKS AND LECTURES


2023, Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Leeds University: Symposium—Landscape for All? Rethinking Landscape Painting Now

2021, Brixton Library, London:
In Conversation with Lisa Anderson

2021, Kettle’s Yard, (online):
Panel Discussion: Art on the Conditions of our time

2021, Harvard University, (online):
Panel Discussion: Group Speak

2020, Iniva, London:
In Conversation with Denzil Forrester

2019, Frieze, London:
Bauhaus and Beyond? On Art School Models, Old and New

2019, University of Oxford:
African Studies Seminar: Unmasking Africana in British Art

2019, Tate Britain, London:
Drip, Spray, Pour: A Close Look at the Work of Frank Bowling

2019, Iniva, London:
Drawing As Praxis: The Reinvention of Drawing

2017, Royal Academy, London:
Black Art and Activism

2016, Wolverhampton Art Gallery,
Black Art in Focus

2015, Tate Britain, London:
The Black Subject: Ancient to Modern

2013, Chelsea College of Arts, London:
In Conversation: Kimathi Donkor, `Daddy, I Want To Be A Black Artist’ — with Emily Druiff and Lindsay Johns’

2013, Peckham Platform, London:
In Conversation: Kimathi Donkor and Sonia Boyce

2013, Iniva at Rivington Place, London:
Panel Discussion: Nana Adusei-Poku and Kimathi Donkor

2007, National Maritime Museum, London:
Voiceless Odysseys


2007, Imperial War Museum:
Escapism